For the past 40 years, Montana has ranked in the top five states in the nation for suicide rates. Big Sky Country is currently ranked third.
The numbers presented by the Montana Suicide Mortality Review Team are staggering.
Montana had 555 suicides between January 1, 2014, and March 1, 2016. Of those, 440 were male and 115 female.
Research also indicates that nearly 9% of Montana high school students attempted suicide at least once within a 12-month period. The number goes up for 7th and 8th graders to 11.6%.
People across the state are stepping up and taking a "from the ground up" approach to finding solutions. Local advisory councils are hoping to change the culture of how we talk about and deal with suicide.
A team in Cascade County is working to educate, provide screenings, and distribute information.
"In the state now, there is a lack of awareness now about the problem. There needs to be more networking amongst communities, amongst suicide prevention groups and there needs to be a much higher level of public education,” said Greg Tilton of the Cascade County Mental Health Local Advisory Council.