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Tag Archives: suicide prevention

Suicide Prevention Comes Down to Dollars, Attitude and Access

By 5 p.m. on a new autumn day last October, about two-dozen people stood in the park, waiting for the county's inaugural Suicide Memorial Awareness Walk to begin. It was a big moment for Maureen O'Malley, the coordinator of the Missoula City-County Health Department's suicide prevention network. Her position is less than three years old, and she is charged with the weighty task of decreasing the number of suicides in Missoula County. The job is 15 hours a week. Part-time. O'Malley's budget is anemic. There was a $10,000 governor's grant given to her office and to four other Montana counties last year. Otherwise "it's a matter of eking some dollars out of the current health department budget," she said. O'Malley's equivalent until November in Cascade County was Susie McIntyre, who puts the fiscal woes more bluntly. "Suicide prevention in Montana can come down to money, and yet we haven't invested in it in any systematic way," she said.

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A Deadly Equation: Suicide in the West

The dead were named. They were remembered. Then, in the hallway of St. Anthony Parish, there was an awkward shuffle to day-to-day conversation between strangers as the group moved towards a folding table with homemade cookies. The inaugural Suicide Memorial Awareness Walk in Missoula ended here. Moments earlier a circle of 22 mourners spoke the names of loved ones- some in whispers, some with breaking voices, some holding a defiantly steady tone. Kodi Borris, a ponytailed eight-year-old, stepped toward the center the hushed circle. "Stephen," she said quietly. "Stephen," repeated the group of mourners. Stephen is Stephen Adam Borris, Kodi’s stepbrother, who hung himself while in the Hill County Jail in Havre on May 11, 2004.

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