BILLINGS — MTN hosted Kids in Crisis: A Town Hall discussion that delves deeper into issues brought up in the 2021 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Last month, we dove into alarming numbers from the survey, taken by 98% of Montana high school districts, that show many of the state's kids are in crisis.
"The numbers were really scary to me. They were higher than I anticipated," said Reneé Schoening, executive director of the Montana School Counselor's Association.
Schoening was referring to the 41.4% of students who said they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two straight weeks, a 30-year-high. 21.7% said they contemplated suicide in the last 12 months, and 10.2% actually attempted it.
Montana’s kids have been screaming for a help for a long time but few seem to be listening. No one knows that better than Katelynn Berry’s family.
"People don’t really talk about mental health," said Carmell Mattison, Berry's mother. "It’s very much a stigma."
Berry was a 26-year-old Sidney woman who was reported missing on New Years Eve and found dead three weeks later near her Sidney home. The official cause of death is listed as hypothermia, but loved ones don’t know why she ventured outside without her coat. Family says she was struggling with diagnosed mental health issues at the time.
"There weren’t a lot of people who knew she had a diagnosis because we kept it very close to us," Mattison said, "and I want people to know that it’s okay. Let’s talk about it."
It’s why Mattison and the rest of the Katelynn’s Voice Foundation is holding an event Saturday in Williston, North Dakota, with proceeds going to awareness for mental health and addiction services.