GREAT FALLS — At C.M. Russell High School in Great Falls, there’s still hope. Juniors Madison Skovron and Macie Wheeler started their MM Hope Project in 2021 when they realized there wasn’t a concerted suicide awareness effort at the school.
“When it’s coming from peers, it means more knowing that people your same age are dealing with the same stuff you are,” said Wheeler.
Students simply anonymously write down how they’re feeling on a sticky note.
"We make sure people know that they're supported and they’re heard,” said Skovron. “And they can reach out to us, direct message us on Instagram (link) and just know that they're really not alone in this.”
The pair has received financial support from Columbia Grain and the Indian Family Health Clinic as well as individual donors and school staff.
Throughout the week, they give out prizes and hand out candy, donuts, even Crumbl Cookies.
It’s a project that’s making a difference.
“I would just like look over and some people wrote five sticky notes just how they're feeling that day,” said Skovron. “And I think it really means a lot to them because they speak to me afterwards, saying thank you and just to know that they're heard.”
The pair says they’ve known others who have struggled with mental health and have lost loved ones to suicide.
It’s amazing how one single word can have such a lasting impact.
“You don't have to put a name to how you're feeling,” said Wheeler. “You can just say how you're feeling and let everyone know.”
“Because a lot of people get nervous about that and they feel like they're going to get judged,” said Skovron. “That's a big problem with mental health. They just feel like they're just going to get judged and that’s why they don't reach out.”
The girls hope the project continues after they graduate next year.
If you or someone you love is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available through these free resources, available 24/7.
- National Suicide Lifeline: call or text 988
- Text MT to 741-741
- Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-Talk (8255)
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