One in five Montana families are affected by mental illness.
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Matt Kuntz was born and raised in Helena, Montana. Matt received his bachelor’s degree from West Point and his law degree from the University of Oregon. Matt served as in infantry officer in the Army and was recognized as Distinguished Member of the Thirty Fifth Regiment for his service. Matt was practicing corporate law in Helena when his step-brother, a Montana National Guardsmen who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, committed suicide. Spurred on by his step-brother’s death, Matt began advocating for effective screening and treatment of post traumatic stress injuries of our returning service members. Senate Bill 711 was the culmination of these efforts. It required multiple, face-to-face mental health screenings throughout America’s fighting force. Senator Ted Kennedy attached the bill to the Defense Authorization Act of 2010 and was signed into law on October 8, 2009.
In June of 2008, Matt took on the role of the National Alliance on Mental Illness for Montana’s (NAMI Montana’s) Executive Director in order to support, educate, and advocate for all Montanans suffering from serious mental illness and their families. Matt’s advocacy efforts on behalf of Montana’s service members and their families were documented in the book, Faces of Combat: PTSD & TBI by Eric Newhouse. Matt was recognized by President Obama in his inauguration festivities as one of eighteen Ordinary Americans Who Have Made An Extraordinary Difference. Matt was also recognized as an Everyday All-Star by People Magazine and Major League Baseball.
Matt has helped lead the charge on a number of successful state advocacy efforts to establish mental health peer services in Montana, develop children's mental health crisis beds, prevent the incarceration of offenders with serious mental illness, etc. Matt was also instrumental in the development of the Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery at Montana State University.