MSU Billings Offers Overwatch Project’s Suicide Prevention Training
April 2, 2022 | updated 4/4/2022
#JustFKNAsk Suicide Prevention Training | MSUB
Wednesday, April 6, 2022
12:00 AM— 2:00 AMUTC
by Kelly McCandless
The Military and Veterans Success Center at Montana State University Billings, in partnership with the Overwatch Project, will host a suicide prevention training on April 5 in Petro Theatre beginning at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The Overwatch Project’s suicide prevention training and initiative focuses on blunt conversations surrounding firearms and suicide. The presentation will help equip attendees to successfully discuss and make plans for protective firearm storage measures when a life is on the line and empower them to intervene. While the project focuses on military and veteran communities, anyone can benefit from the training.
“One of the issues veterans run into is normalizing the suicide conversation,” explains Shane Grantham, interim director of the MSU Billings Military and Veterans Success Center. “This training not only offers a way to start the discussion, but it is also talks about how to establish a safety plan before we start down that dark path. Additionally, it shows other veterans that many of us have been there, and that it is okay. It’s about adding critical seconds between thought and action.”
According to the Overwatch Project, the United States loses more than 20 veterans and active military members each day to suicide. 70% of those suicides are completed with firearms, the most lethally efficient tool available. Eight-five percent of attempted suicides with a firearm are completed, while just 2% of suicides using pills are completed. These stats lead to Overwatch Project's mission to create a plan for firearm storage and protection.
Additionally, suicide remains one of Montana’s leading causes of death, and the state unfortunately has one of the highest rates of suicide in the United States. Training to assist those at risk of suicide is incredibly important and can make a meaningful difference.
Along with the MSU Billings Military and Veterans Success Center and the Overwatch Project, partners include the MSUB Rehabilitation and Human Services Department, MSUB Student Health Services, and the Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation.
Kelly McCandless is a Billings native who loves a well-planned adventure, being outdoors when the weather is nice, historic fiction and hot coffee. She’s passionate about writing, cooking, education, travel and doing all of these things with her husband Ryan and their two incredible daughters