Montana officials explore suicide hotline for state's vets

- Montana officials are exploring the possibility of establishing a state-based suicide prevention hotline to respond to the state's alarming number of military veterans who take their own lives.

Montana has one of the nation's highest rates of suicides, not only among veterans but the general population.

While a national hotline exists specifically for despondent vets, some officials say Montana-based telephone counselors could be more responsive to the needs of the state's veterans.

State officials say 50 veterans in Montana killed themselves last year, with about 560 suicides over the past 10 years.

State Sen. Dee Brown, who chairs the State Administration and Veterans' Affairs Interim Committee, has raised alarm about the suicide rate. She said the committee is just beginning to discuss how best to improve telephone counseling services for veterans.

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