WMSPI is now Project Tomorrow MT - Check out our new website at projecttomorrowmt.org
United Way of Missoula County, Western Montana Suicide Prevention Initiative, and Wells Fargo Unveil PROJECT TOMORROW MONTANA
Suicide prevention rebranding and public awareness campaign to be unveiled Monday, December 5 at United Way.
December 1, 2016 – Western Montana’s major suicide prevention collaboration will announce a new name and unveil a public-awareness campaign at a news conference Monday, Dec. 5, at 11 a.m. at United Way of Missoula County, 412 West Alder.
Confirmed speakers include Missoula Mayor John Engen; Jason Luckey, regional business banking manager, Wells Fargo; United Way of Missoula County chief executive officer Susan Hay Patrick; and Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce president Jan Schweitzer.
Project Tomorrow Montana is the new name of the Western Montana Suicide Prevention Initiative, a collaboration founded in 2014 by United Way of Missoula County, Missoula City-County Health Department, LivingWorks Education, and the University of Montana. Other members include local businesses, nonprofit organizations, veterans groups, and Missoula County Public Schools. The initiative operates under the auspices of United Way.
“Because Montana is number one in the nation for suicide, and because the suicide rate in Missoula County is at a record high, we felt an urgent need to expand and raise the profile of our suicide-prevention work, especially as the holiday season approaches,” said Susan Hay Patrick, chief executive officer of United Way of Missoula County and chair of Project Tomorrow. According to the most recent data available, there was a spike in suicides in Montana in January of 2014 and again in 2015. In 2014 and 2015, 68 Missoula County residents completed suicide. Montana’s suicide rate remains double the national average, and for decades the state has ranked among the top five states with the highest suicide rates.
“Project Tomorrow Montana is a rebranding of the Western Montana Suicide Prevention Initiative, but our purpose remains the same,” Patrick said. “Our goal is to reduce Montana’s suicide rate through education, awareness, training, intervention, prevention and recovery.”
Patrick said a major grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, to be announced at Monday’s news conference, will provide initial funding for a multi-media Project Tomorrow outreach campaign designed to publicize suicide-prevention resources, including the Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1.800.273.8255) and the national Crisis Text Line. http://www.crisistextline.org/ (Text MT to 741-741)
“We want to shine a light of hope on suicide and mental health issues in our community,” Patrick said, “and we were very gratified that Wells Fargo saw the urgency of the need and responded so generously.”
Patrick said Project Tomorrow’s messaging focuses on the future by encouraging people experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts to reach out for help. “When we do so, we find we are not alone, and that help is available.” The messaging also encourages people to learn the suicide warning signs, attend suicide prevention training, and to reach out to those in deep distress to offer hope and encourage them to seek immediate help. “Through education, awareness, and action, each one of us can save a life,” Patrick said.
Call 406-258-3883 to schedule a Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR) class for your school, business, community group, church, neighborhood council, or other group.
The QPR Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention Training Program is a three-step educational program that teaches people how to recognize the signs of suicide and how to get a person at risk the help they need.
Learn how to prevent suicide by using QPR to:
• Ask Questions to assess the situation
• Persuade the person to accept help
• Refer the person to a professional for help to get them through the crisis and treat any underlying mental illness.