BOZEMAN — Landon Hull was a student at Montana State University, studying psychology in the hopes of becoming a counselor. But after his tragic passing in 2022, the Hull family decided to be a solution to Montana’s mental health crisis by setting up a scholarship in his memory.
"Landon was full of energy from the time he could walk. He walked early, he talked early, he rode his bike early. He brought life to the party. He brought excitement to the room. And he was really empathetic towards other people who were struggling," says Landon's mother, Kimmelin Hull.
Landon’s challenges and the lack of youth services to combat them eventually led him to an outdoor recovery program out of state, where he discovered his passion for helping others.
"I think he saw a potential future self in these young guys who had also made the decision to dedicate their professional lives to helping kids," says Kimmelin.
Despite this period of recovery, Landon still struggled, and upon returning to Montana he could not find the services he needed.
"The system, with all its benefits, also has a lot of flaws. And they were just unwilling and unable to diagnose what was really going on with him," says Andrew Hull, Landon's father.
He says, "We know there’s kids falling through the cracks all over the place. And so that’s what is frustrating and heartbreaking for us. The situation is playing itself out again and again, and there’s nothing systematic that’s changed yet."
Montana currently has the highest rate of suicide in the country, at 28.8 deaths per 100,000 residents. Despite this, some say mental health services have failed to expand in the state.
"A lot of kids told us they felt so at home with him and comforted by him because not only was he willing to share his own struggles but also seek them out and encourage them to find the help they needed to get better," says Kimmelin.
The Hull family hopes that the scholarship will encourage more providers to come to Montana and make mental health care more accessible to struggling residents.
Kimmelin says, "We could have allowed his goal and his dream to die with him, or we could find a way to continue the work he envisioned himself doing."
For more information on the Landon Hull memorial scholarship, and how to apply, visit the website.
To learn more about Landon's story, watch here.
If you or a loved one is struggling, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. You are not alone.
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