12:06 PM

North Valley Hospital and Nate Chute Foundation collaborate on suicide prevention

North Valley Hospital (NVH) continues in its fight against suicide in northwest Montana. The hospital awarded $62,750 to the Nate Chute Foundation of Whitefish in the second year of a collaborative effort at reducing the suicide rate in the Flathead Valley, which continues to be a public health crisis. NVH’s Behavioral Health clinic is also aggressively supporting mental health by celebrating six months of providing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treatment to 24 adults suffering from severe depression.

A successful fundraising effort in 2019 by the NVH Foundation and the Nate Chute Foundation (NCF) identified a number of community members willing to invest in efforts to curb the suicide rate in the area. Kacy Howard, Executive Director of the Nate Chute Foundation states, “Montana is consistently among the highest in the country for suicide, ranking No. 1 in 2017 but dropping to No. 2 in 2018 according to the CDC. We must work together in all sectors of the community to change this statistic. A strong partnership with the local healthcare system is a key component in the fight.” The NCF provides community-based suicide prevention through education, outreach, and training for local schools, businesses and community organizations.

The financial support came from the NVH Foundation’s collaborative fundraising efforts with the Nate Chute Foundation in 2019 to purchase the TMS equipment at NVH’s Behavioral Health Clinic and start the innovative new service, while raising funds to support suicide prevention efforts with the Nate Chute Foundation. NVH CEO Kevin Abel says, “The community response has been amazing and not only are we able to provide specific effective treatment for adults with severe depression through TMS, but we are able to follow through on our goals in the implementation of the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment by doing what we can to fund those partner organizations that are working on the front lines to reduce suicide rates.”

Funding in 2019, the first year of the collaboration allowed the NCF to increase capacity by hiring two new staff members, and to develop the resources and training materials to continue their important efforts. More than 2,100 students were reached in the school-based suicide prevention programs in 2019 and going forward, the NCF will use funds to continue to build their capacity to continue their broad education and awareness reach, and to organize and lead multi-organization collaborations in the battle against suicide.

The North Valley Hospital Foundation is the fundraising arm of NVH, dedicated to helping the hospital fulfill its mission of being the center of healing for the community. The 20 person board of directors is committed to looking at the highest needs at NVH and in the community and helping to secure funding, services and equipment to meet the needs of those doing the frontline work in the north Flathead Valley communities including Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Eureka.

Further information about the Nate Chute Foundation’s work in suicide prevention and awareness can be found at www.natechutefoundation.org or by calling (406) 730-2521. To inquire about qualifying for TMS treatment for adults with severe depression, information is available through the North Valley Behavioral Health clinic at (406) 862-1030.