Suicide Prevention Awareness Month events in Ronan

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September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and there is no better time to focus on the issue pertaining to the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Brandon Burke is the manager for the Reason To Live Native Suicide Prevention Program in Lake County. The program is sponsoring two significant events next week.

The first is the showing of the inspirational film, “3100: Run and Become” on Thursday, Sept. 20 at the Ronan Entertainment Theater. Showings will be at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

On the following day, Friday, Sept. 21, Reason To Live Native and Together As One will co-sponsor the Suicide Prevention Walk. It will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Ronan High School track. There is no charge to participate.

REASON TO LIVE is a five-year program funded by a grant facilitated by Tribal Health on the Flathead Reservation. It was originally known as Circle of Trust. It was housed at the Tribal Social Services Department for about two-and-a-half years, then The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes chose to move it to Tribal Health. The final year of the grant is under way, and it expires in September 2019.

The “3100: Run and Become” film is endorsed by 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist distance runner Billy Mills, a member of the Oglala Lakota Indian Tribe. “Whether you’re a runner or someone looking to transform your life, inspiration can be found if you have the courage to look within. A film like 3100: Run to Become is the perfect starting point.”

Burke was contacted by the film’s director, Sanjay Rawal. “He wanted to show this movie on an Indian reservation,” he said, and he’s heard the film could possibly come back to the Mission Valley for the next film festival in Ronan.

“Anything that is positive and healthy” could help with suicide prevention in the valley, according to Burke. “Really good coping skills are emphasized.”

For more information, go online to

THE SUICIDE Awareness Walk is being initiated by an independent Mission Valley group known as “Together As One.” It was formed last fall by LeRoy and Yvette Black, who lost a daughter to suicide about a year-and-a-half ago.

The group, which now has about 60 members, wanted to sponsor the Suicide Awareness Walk.

“They want to bring the community together,” Burke said of the Blacks. “It’s growing fast. Most of them (members) have been affected directly by suicide … We’re trying to support them as best we can.”

According to the Suicide Awareness Walk flyer, “Hope and healing changes everything.”

Everyone is invited to participate in the walk in Ronan in promoting “hope and resiliency” for those who are suffering from depression and other risk factors related to suicide. Burke indicated there would be several speakers who will share their experiences and provide messages of hope.

For further information about the film 3100: Run and Become, or the Suicide Awareness Walk, contact Burke at 406-745-3525, ext. 5071.

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