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Shodair scholarship program highlights suicide awareness

| September 23, 2021 2:36 PM

Shodair Children’s Hospital has partnered with organizations statewide to offer $10,000 in scholarships through its third annual suicide prevention awareness initiative. This opportunity encourages students to engage in critical thinking and speaking up about mental health and suicide prevention.

In alignment with National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Shodair is asking middle and high school students to share their message of hope to others around the state that may be struggling with their mental health and battling suicidal thoughts. The hospital will be awarding $10,000 through four categories: written, video, visual, and judge's choice. This year’s theme is “What impact has the pandemic had on the mental health of youth?”

This contest provides an outlet for youth around the state to process this heavy topic, break down stigmas, and unite in hope.

In 2019, Shodair developed this annual scholarship contest to encourage youth to take part in shifting the perception around this crucial and often taboo topic. Since its origination, the contest has had a positive reception by teens across the state and has gained momentum in participation, with more than double the entries in 2020 compared to its inaugural year. The hospital hopes to continue with this trajectory to reach more students and families.

“Youth suicide rates in Montana are nearly double the national average and we want to do all we can to change that,” said Craig Aasved, CEO of Shodair Children’s Hospital. “One first step in suicide prevention and breaking down stigma is creating a safe place for conversations and a platform for young people to share their story. This contest is yet another way we are continuing to meet our mission, to heal, help, and inspire hope.”

To be eligible, participants must be between the ages of 13 and 18 and enrolled in a public school, private school, or home school in Montana. Applications must be submitted to www.shodair.org by 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27.

Submission guidelines

• Written — Write your message in a 500 word or less essay

• Video — Share your message with us in a three minute or less video in an mp4 format

• Visual — Show us your message through the artistic medium of your choosing (e.g., sculpture, painting, drawing) For visual entries, contact Alana Listoe at 406-444-7561