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May 14, 2012   |  Senator Jon Tester

Tester backs bill to reduce Montana’s suicide rate

Senator’s bipartisan measure will help people at risk for suicide, support rural areas

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is supporting bipartisan legislation to reduce the high rate of suicide in Montana.

Tester is supporting the reauthorization of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act.  Named after the late son of former Oregon Senator Gordon Smith, the bill provides grants to develop early intervention and prevention strategies and offers assistance for mental health services in schools.

“All hands need to be on deck when it comes to preventing suicide,” Tester said.  “We need to do everything we can to help our young people lead healthy, productive lives.  This bill makes sure that everyone has access to life-saving tools and resources and that the tragedy of suicide receives the attention it deserves.”

The bill expands the mission of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center to include a focus on “high risk” groups.  Suicide rates are higher in rural areas, as well as among young people and Native Americans. 

The bill also recognizes that youth suicide is a public health crisis that is often linked to underlying mental health problems. 

Risk factors for suicide include substance abuse, family history of suicide, unemployment and poverty.  About 200 Montanans die each year from suicide.

Tester held a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing in Poplar in August to find solutions to the rising number of suicides in Indian Country.  Fort Peck declared an emergency last year after six children killed themselves and another 20 attempted suicide.

Tester’s bipartisan bill, which builds on a 2004 law, is cosponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).  It is available online HERE.


Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.


Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768


Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647


Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586


208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462


8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974


130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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