Saturday at 2 p.m. 270 Capital High School seniors graduate at a ceremony at Carroll College.

Matt Kuntz, executive director of the National Alliance for Mental Illness-Montana and a 1995 CHS graduate, will talk about his life and how in his life failures have been part of his path to success.

A Helena native, Kuntz earned a bachelor’s degree from West Point and was in Ranger Airborne School when he had a career-ending ankle injury.

“Failure is part of trying to achieve great things,” said Kuntz. “It’s not something you can avoid (if you go after success).”

“There are some good lessons about being crushed and having to be agile and move onto other dreams.”

After working several jobs, including as a mental health technician and at a tech startup company, Kuntz completed a law degree at University of Oregon in 2006, went to Uganda to volunteer at an orphanage and was working in corporate law in Helena when his life took another dramatic turn.

His step-brother, a Montana National Guardsman who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, committed suicide.

“You don’t get to choose this stuff,” said Kuntz.

That event propelled Kuntz into working in the mental health field. He advocated for passage of Senate Bill 711, which requires multiple mental health screenings for America’s fighting forces.

As director of NAMI-Montana, Kuntz was instrumental in bringing a new Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery to Montana State University campus.

Reporter Marga Lincoln can be reached at 447-4083 marga.lincoln@helenair.com

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