News Article Details

Tester secures $50,000 grant to improve mental health services at Two Eagle River School

Missoulian - 3/30/2018

A few weeks after Arlee basketball's suicide prevention video went viral, Sen. Jon Tester secured a $50,000 grant to help improve the mental health services at Two Eagle River School in Pablo.

Both Two Eagle River and Arlee are on the Flathead Reservation.

“This grant will create stronger schools, healthier students, and it will help address the growing suicide epidemic in Indian Country,” Tester, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said in a news release. “Providing mental health services and dedicated counselors at Two Eagle River School will go a long way in providing hope and opportunity for all students.”

The grant was secured on March 16 through the the Department of Education's School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) program. Project SERV aids schools in recovery plan development to assist students after traumatic events.

Many schools around the country that have recently received Project SERV funds were given the grants to help students return to normalcy after school shootings.

Two students at Two Eagle River have died by suicide in the past 11 months. Both of them played on the boys' basketball team.

"The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are pleased to receive this award, which will allow mental health specialists to directly engage with our students at Two Eagle River School," Ronald Trahan, chairman of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, said in the release.

"These specialists are vital to our students in a particular time of need on the Flathead Reservation, and will supplement the work of students already working to end this suicide epidemic. We extend our thanks to Senator Tester for fighting to secure this award."

After the second student's death at Two Eagle River in late February, the Arlee basketball team created two videos to dedicate their state title run to suicide prevention efforts and to generate awareness about the suicide epidemic wreaking havoc not only at Two Eagle, but across the Flathead Reservation.

The epidemic was brought to Tester's attention after he saw Arlee's second video, which now has nearly 1.1 million views on Facebook.

A day before securing the grant for Two Eagle River, Tester teamed up with New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker to commend the Arlee basketball team for their activism.

 
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