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The Big Blue Sky Initiative will take on Montana’s drug abuse epidemics and rising suicide rate.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) has launched a major statewide educational campaign called The Big Blue Sky InitiativeSM to help fight opioid abuse, suicide and the meth and heroin epidemics spreading across Montana.

The Big Blue Sky Initiative will put resources in the hands of the communities we serve, so we all get through this together.

As the state's leading health insurance company, BCBSMT believes it's our responsibility to step up and be a leader in confronting these challenges. It's part of our commitment to empowering whole-person health for our members and our communities.

The heart of the campaign message is simple: There is hope and help available to overcome addiction and depression. Montana had the highest suicide rate in the nation in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year.

"Depression and addiction are diseases, just like any other physical ailment, and we must begin to treat them as such. We have to break down the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction, which so often go hand in hand," said John Doran, BCBSMT's divisional vice president of external affairs.

"There are too many heartbreaking stories affecting our neighborhoods across Montana," Doran said. "But if we all come together, and we spread the powerful message that there is hope and help, Montana can get through this community health crisis. We have to do something, and if we can even save just one person from overdose or taking their own life, it will all be worth it."

Over the coming months and years, there will be ads on TV, the radio, in print, and on digital devices promoting the campaign. As the campaign rolls out, BCBSMT encourages people to share it with their family and friends. We can all be advocates for a better Montana.

By uniting health care providers, community groups, state and local governments and other stakeholders in this fight, we can set a positive example for years to come. With everyone’s help, there’s hope.

Please visit The Big Blue Sky Initiative to take action, find support, and view some of BCBSMT’s work in these areas.