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View or Download our 2021 Workplan

In our Workplan we outline three main strategies for suicide prevention within the community. They are education, community, and facilitating.


  • This includes educating the community about suicide risk factors and ways to intervene if they believe someone is suicidal.

  • We utilize QPR as a gatekeep training within the community. If you are interested in more information about this training, visit our training opportunity page.


  • This includes working on events and activities within the great Yellowstone Valley area to boaster a sense of community and increase awareness of suicide.

  • One great example of that is our conference. We hope to increase awareness of suicide within diverse population. Visit the conference page for more information!

  • Part of this work is our Mayor's Challenge team who work to help service members, veterans, and their families be connected in the community and increase awareness of suicide within this population. For more information about this project contact Kathy Sabol at kathy.sab@riverstonehealth.org


  • Our coalition strives to be the Suicide Prevention backbone within the community. If you are interested in partnering with us or would like more information about the coalition please contact us at spcoalitionyv@gmail.com.

Milestones and Accomplishments

Over time, the Coalition has met monthly, developed infrastructures for communication. Participation is voluntary and has varied. Overall representation has included secondary and higher education, social services, public health, addiction, governmental, survivors of suicide loss, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention- Montana Chapter board members, youth programs and more. Below are highlights from the past.


  • A suicide prevention task force emerged in Billings, Montana, among community members interested in and concerned about Montana’s consistently high suicide death rates.

  • Eleanor Edmonds, a representative of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Joan Nye, a local survivor of suicide loss, and Karl Rosston, Montana State Suicide Prevention Coordinator provided guidance to task force regarding initiatives for suicide prevention.


  • Joan Nye (2004-2006) became chairperson of the task force.

  • Retired psychiatrist, Dr. Don Harr and Mike Yakawich join the newly formed suicide prevention task force

  • RiverStone Health Care funded Paul Quinette, Director of the QPR Institute, Spokane, Washington, to present two onsite Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR) Gatekeeper trainings

  • The first Community Out of the Darkness Walk in Montana was held.


  • Suicide Prevention Task Force renamed ‘AFSP – MT - Yellowstone Valley Branch’


  • Mike Yakavich became chairman (2006-2014)

  • Renamed ‘Suicide Prevention Coalition of Yellowstone Valley’

  • Launched Holiday Cards to Survivors, a program providing holiday greeting cards to those who had lost a loved one to suicide.

  • Distributed awareness and educational packets for suicide prevention and survivors of suicide Loss

  • Formalized positions for coalition officers to include chair, co-chair, secretary and treasurer.

  • Adopted articles of operation and bylaws, vision statement and developed a brochure to promote the coalition.

  • Organizing a community suicide prevention awareness program.


  • Submitted a request for funding proposal to Montana Mental Health Settlement Trust Fund to assist with community education.


  • Received Montana Mental Health Settlement Trust Fund grant for ‘Education and Training for Families, Caregivers and Educators in Suicide’

  • South Central Montana Regional Mental Health Center became the fiscal sponsor to allow for donations from community groups and individuals.

  • Hosted our first conference titled ‘Suicide Prevention Training’


  • Hosted our 2nd annual conference ‘Living a Resilient Life’

  • Coalition Facebook page established


  • Hosted our 3rd annual conference ‘Creating a Culture for Suicide Prevention’

  • Created policies and procedure for a QPR training evaluation database to capture impact of community training.


  • Hosted our 4th annual conference ‘Fostering Hope Through Interpersonal Endeavors’

  • Nathan Stahley became chairperson (2014-2020)

  • Coalition brand mark and website established


  • Hosted our 5th annual conference ‘Strategic Approaches to Preventing Suicide’


  • Hosted a collaborative conference on suicide prevention and trauma with the Billings Area Family Violence Taskforce. This served as the 27th annual McGuire Memorial Conference on Family Violence and 6th Annual Conference on Suicide Prevention



  • Sarah Music became chairperson

  • Hosted a joint event of conference and a movie event at the Babcock Theatre.

Need help right away?Reach out to a local or national resource that’s ready to help.

Crisis and Suicide Prevention Hotline

(800) 273-8255

Crisis and Suicide Prevention Textline

Text “Go” to 741741

Community Crisis Center

(406) 259-8800