The Lewis and Clark Suicide Prevention Coalition is a community group comprised of citizens and local organizations’ representatives. Our shared goal is to reduce the number of suicides occurring in the tri-county annually while increasing the community’s access to accurate information, appropriate care, and evidence-based interventions.

Suicide is preventable, and we have the power to make a change!

Led by Lewis and Clark Public Health (LCPH) suicide program staff, the coalition oversees various initiatives focusing on the three columns of suicide prevention – Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention. LCPH suicide prevention staff and volunteer trainers promote prevention by educating the public about mental health conditions, supporting our mental health, and how to prevent suicide. They also help organize events to bring further awareness to these topics, like the April Tri-county Out of the Darkness Campus Walk.

Simultaneously, the coalition’s subgroups focus more on the other pillars through the following:

  • Lethal means access (prevention and intervention) – making sure people in crisis don’t have access to tools they might use to take their lives. Check out our section on Safer Communities Montana to learn more.

Another workgroup is under development to focus on the needs of the LGBTQ2s+ population. A current effort involves increasing access to gender-affirming care. If you would like to learn more about this topic, please contact Lennon Keppen at lennon.keppen@umontana.edu

Who we are

Representatives from the following locations participate in the coalition, including St. Peter’s Health, Helena Indian Alliance, PureView Health Center, Helena Public Schools, Jefferson County Public Health, Montana Army National Guard, Montana VA Healthcare System, Many Rivers Whole Health, the Montana Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Montana Chapter, Shodair Children’s Hospital, Helena College and Carroll College.

Originally formed in 2016 as the Suicide Prevention Workgroup, an off-shoot of the county’s Local Advisory Council on Mental Health (now the Behavioral Health Local Advisory Council), Coalition changed its name in 2018. We did this to streamline prevention efforts across the county while showing the solidarity of its members toward increasing access to community education about suicide and supporting interventions and policies.

The coalition meets from 3:30 – 5 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month via Zoom. We are always accepting new members! Please call 406-457-8970 or email jhegstrom@lccountymt.gov for questions or to participate.