- Associated Press - Thursday, November 17, 2016

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A legislative committee is recommending the state spend $1 million on suicide prevention efforts over the next two budget years.

The interim State Administration and Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday suggested appropriating $500,000 for the state’s suicide prevention program and another $500,000 for grants for suicide prevention programs for military veterans. The funding amounts could be changed as the bills move through the appropriations process during the 2017 Legislature.

The first bill seeks to normalize the need for Montanans to address mental health problems. Republican Sen. Dee Brown of Hungry Horse said she wants people who are struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide to feel comfortable enough to seek help.

There were 555 suicides reported in Montana between January 2014 and March 1, 2016, including 121 among military veterans.

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