Tester Secures $50,000 to Combat Suicide Epidemic in Indian Country

Senator Fights for Life Saving Services for Flathead Reservation School

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $50,000 to improve mental health services at Two Eagle River School on the Flathead Reservation.

The funds come from the School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) grant program, which develops recovery plans to help students after traumatic events. It also supports professionals as they conduct mental health assessments and referrals.

“This grant will create stronger schools, healthier students, and it will help address the growing suicide epidemic in Indian Country,” said Tester, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “Providing mental health services and dedicated counselors at Two Eagle River School will go a long way in providing hope and opportunity for all students.”

Suicide is a public health epidemic and is especially high among Montana’s Native youth. The prevalence of suicide at Two Eagle River School was recently brought to Tester’s attention by a suicide prevention video filmed by the Arlee Warriors.

“The Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes are pleased to receive this award, which will allow mental health specialists to directly engage with our students at Two Eagle River School,” said Ronald Trahan, Chairman of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes. “These specialists are vital to our students in a particular time of need on the Flathead Reservation, and will supplement the work of students already working to end this suicide epidemic. We extend our thanks to Senator Tester for fighting to secure this award.”

Tester is also sponsoring the Native Behavioral Health Access Improvement Act to create a new initiative to help tribes access additional resources to provide mental health care and has called on the Senate Appropriations and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Committees to increase mental health care resources at public schools across Montana.