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Scholarship contest to raise awareness for National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month underway


Last updated 9/16/2021 at Noon

From Shodair Children’s hospital

HELENA — As part of its continued effort to create a healthy and hopeful Montana, Shodair Children’s Hospital has partnered with organizations statewide to offer $10,000 in scholarships through its third annual suicide prevention awareness initiative. This opportunity encourages students to engage in critical thinking and speaking up about mental health and suicide prevention.

In alignment with National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Shodair is asking middle and high school students to share their message of hope to others around the state that may be struggling with their mental health and battling suicidal thoughts. The hospital will be awarding $10,000 through four categories: written, video, visual and judge’s choice. This year’s theme for students to respond to is: What impact has the pandemic had on the mental health of youth? This contest provides an outlet for youth around the state to process this heavy topic, break down stigmas, and unite in hope.

“There are people in my family who deal with mental health struggles,” said Eve Monforte, an eighth-grade scholarship winner from 2020. “I can relate to it even though I don’t have a mental illness myself.”

In 2019, Shodair developed this annual scholarship contest to encourage youth to take part in shifting the perception around this crucial and often taboo topic. Since its origination, the contest has had a positive reception by teens across the state and has gained momentum in participation, with more than double the entries in 2020 compared to its inaugural year. The hospital hopes to continue with this trajectory to reach more students and families than ever before.

“Youth suicide rates in Montana are nearly double the national average and we want to do all we can to change that,” said Craig Aasved, CEO of Shodair Children’s Hospital. “One first step in suicide prevention and breaking down stigma is creating a safe place for conversations and a platform for young people to share their story. This contest is yet another way we are continuing to meet our mission, to heal, help, and inspire hope with the continued help from our stakeholders. Stigmas prevent people from seeking

To be eligible, all participants must be between the ages of 13 and 18 and enrolled in a public school, private school, or home school in Montana. Applications must be submitted to http://www.shodair.org by 11:59 p.m. MDT on Monday, September 27, 2021. After the entry process closes, each submission will be thoroughly reviewed by a panel and judged based on the level of messaging, how impactful the piece is, and the project’s creativity.

Submission guidelines are:

1. Written — Write your message in a 500 word or less essay

2. Video — Share your message with us in a three minute or less video in an mp4 format

3. Visual — Show us your message through the artistic medium of your choosing, e.g., sculpture, painting, drawing. For visual entries, you can contact Alana Listoe at 406-444-7561

Since 1896, Shodair Children’s Hospital has cared for Montana’s most vulnerable residents. The legacy has evolved throughout those years to cater to the Treasure State’s ever-changing needs.

Today, Shodair provides acute, residential, and outpatient psychiatric care for Montana children and adolescents, and clinical and laboratory medical genetic services to residents of all ages. Three-quarters of its patients are on Medicaid and 99 percent of patients are from Montana.

Shodair is a non-profit facility that serves children, adolescents, and young adults and is the state’s only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. The medical genetics department at Shodair is the state’s only medical genetics program and provides comprehensive services to patients at the Helena Campus and through outreach clinics statewide. For more information visit Shodair.org.


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