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Farewell to a Dear Friend

By March 1, 2018November 24th, 2020No Comments

Scott Hannon and Ruby – Story Road Films

NAMI Montana lost a dear friend this weekend when Scott Hannon passed away. Scott’s DD-214 said retired Navy SEAL Commander, but he was much more than his service and his wounds. Scott had a gentle heart and an amazing connection with the natural world.
Scott fought a courageous battle with post traumatic stress, TBI, and bipolar disorder. In his recovery, he found love and was loved in return. Scott’s family embraced his journey of recovery and was always ready to cross the country to help him threw a rocky time. His life was also full of friends that were always ready to say “yes” to a work party in Colorado Gulch, regardless of the temperature.

Scott first spoke publicly about his mental health struggle and recovery during the 2016 Montana NAMIWalk when he was the Signature Walker. You can watch his Mary McCue NAMIWalk Kick Off lunch speech and his Montana NAMIWalk speech. Scott also gave a keynote speech at the 2016 Montana Conference on Mental Illness which touched the hearts of hundreds of attendees. 

Scott was passionate about improving the veterans mental health care treatment system and integrating service animals into mental health care. Scott also worked with Montana Wild and the VA to develop a program group therapy program for veterans that involved birds of prey. (NPR story on the program)

I know that my friendship with Scott made me a better person. He just had that effect on people. We will be continuing Scott’s legacy in the following months and years through two efforts. 

​First, we will work with the Family Support Foundation for Mental Illness to add every veterans healthcare organization in the country to the Treatment Scout website. We’ve got 82 loaded up now and have 1,500+ more to go. Click on the picture below to see the currently loaded site and clinics. (Thanks to Senator Jon Tester’s staff for providing us with the list of veterans care organizations.)

Second, NAMI Montana will continue to work to deepen our advocacy and advisory efforts on improving brain health and brain condition diagnostics. A good diagnosis is a critical step to effective care. We will be working with policymakers and researchers across the country to help make that process work better.

Scott believed in taking tangible actions to tackle big challenges. Hopefully, he will smile down on our efforts for years to come.

Thank you,
Matt Kuntz

Executive Director
NAMI Montana

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