In a new story from The Daily Yonder, teenagers living in rural Montana have a new program to turn to in case of mental health or an emotional crisis. Called Youth Aware of Mental Health (Y.A.M.), the program uses extension agents to reach out to teens and help them with mental health concerns.

From the story: “The program typically targets ninth graders in their physical education classes. Two extension agents will meet with the students five times. The first session, said Brenda Richey, a Y.A.M. instructor in Lake County, Montana, involves talking about what mental health is.

“I’m not there to teach and to stand at the blackboard… and say ‘monkey see, monkey do,’” Richey said. “We have one presentation where I go through my work and I teach the question ‘What is mental health?’… Our program is about recognizing and understanding that as important in our life as our physical health is, our mental health is and will be, in my opinion, equal to or more important than physical health.”

With the teen suicide rate in Montana more than twice the national rate, Y.A.M. has become a positive tool towards reducing the numbers and taking care of the kids.

To read the rest of the story on the Yonder, click here.