Butte Addresses Suicide Prevention - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Butte Addresses Suicide Prevention

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BUTTE -

Multiple teen suicides within the last month in Butte are forcing both the school district and the county to take action.

Within the last month, three teen suicides were reported in Butte, two in the last week.

For grieving and prevention, the Butte school district is providing a crisis management system by increasing the number of mental health counselors in the schools.

"Kids are going through a grief period," said District Superintendent Judy Jonart. "It's a difficult time for them. They're confused. It's difficult for the staff, but on the other side of it, it's a warm, caring environment."

Mental health professionals say the recent teen suicides have no connections, and they say they don't believe they were copy-cat incidents.

"People have a tendency to try to look back and say, "What could I have done differently? What warning signs did I miss?" They'll even invent some and find some things that could have been done, they feel," said Jeremy Flemming with Western Montana Mental Health. "But that's not a positive way to look at this."

Tuesday morning county Chief Executive Matt Vincent called a private meeting for school district members and community health professionals.

He addressed what the county could do for prevention.

"We're using this as an impetus to move forward, to have a better network in place for how we work toward the prevention of this in the future and do better at how we serve the members of our community that are at risk," Vincent said.

While students have help readily available at school, parents and community members are asked to help at home.

"If they do indeed feel or see anything they find different about their child, they should make a phone call to our counselors and we'll follow up," said Jonart. "That has helped us tremendously."

On January 21 the Montana Department of Public Health will hold a community discussion for prevention strategies at St. James Healthcare.

The same discussion will be held at the Butte High auditorium the next day, January 22, for the students' parents.

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