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Suicide Prevention Toolkit Going Out Across Montana

By July 10, 2018November 24th, 2020No Comments

Shodair employees prepping the CAST-S for shipment. From left to right: Sophia Lance, Larry Lavinder, Melissa Moore, Angel Austin, and Danielle Timmer
Last fall,  Shodair Children’s Hospital organized a group of community leaders, physicians, lawmakers, educators, and experts in the mental health profession, that came together with the goal of creating synergy around suicide prevention efforts underway. NAMI Montana was honored to be participant.

“Shodair is committed to being a leader in suicide prevention because we see a large majority of our psychiatric patients struggling with suicidal ideations,” Shodair CEO Craig Aasved said.  “Together with partners from across Montana, we hope to bring awareness to this community-wide health problem, to breakdown the stigma often associated with mental illness, and ultimately lower the suicide rate here.”

The group is commitment to action and providing a hard copy of the 
Montana Crisis Action School Toolkit on Suicide (Montana CAST-S) is one of the first steps. These books serve as a guide for educators who don’t necessarily have training in challenges around youth mental health.

Montana CAST-S was developed in a collaboration between the Big Sky Council and NAMI Montana to support Montana school communities in meeting requirements of Montana state legislative statute HB381 (2017).  The goal in the creation of CAST-S was to support each school district and their communities to have access to much needed resources in developing their own protocols and crisis plan for preventing and addressing youth suicides.  It was written by nationally-recognized suicide prevention leaders Dr. Scott and Donna Poland.

“Our hope is that the messages and strategies in the CAST-S book will serve as a catalyst for learning and a guide when teachers enter unfamiliar, and sometimes scary, situations with their students,” Aasved said. “I encourage educators to attend one of the free upcoming webinars, and recognize Shodair as a resource they can lean on because of our strong group of professionals with expertise. This book won’t do anyone any good sitting on a shelf. Our hope is that health instructors, counselors, or any interested educator, have the opportunity to become familiar with it because it is an invaluable tool.”
Dr. Poland will be offering several trainings on the CAST-S in the upcoming months. The first will be in Missoula on July 20th at the Montana Conference on Suicide Prevention. He will also be giving webinar trainings on August 31st from noon to 1:00 pm and on September 18th from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can attend the webinars at this link or watch them at Shodair where they will be hosting trainees and serving lunch.

We are deeply grateful to Shodair and everyone else who has worked so hard to develop the CAST-S and get it out to Montana schools. We are honored to serve with you in this critical cause.


Danielle Timmer of Shodair with 700 copies of the Montana CAST-S to be shipped to school principals across Montana

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