In partnership with the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, Healthy Park County is working to prevent suicide in Park County and across Wyoming. Their new campaign, titled “WY …
In partnership with the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, Healthy Park County is working to prevent suicide in Park County and across Wyoming. Their new campaign, titled “WY We Talk,” encourages friends to reach out to one another.
Historically, Wyoming has one of the nation’s highest suicide rates on a per capita basis. And in the wake of a pandemic, isolation and economic uncertainty, law enforcement agencies and mental health professionals are calling on Wyoming’s neighborly nature to help prevent suicide.
“Last year was challenging, and we’re all still navigating through it. If someone in your life seems to be having an especially hard time, ask if they’re OK,” Healthy Park County Community Prevention Director Wendy Morris said. “Every individual person that you care about is your reason to talk. That person is ‘WY We Talk.’ Sometimes all it takes to save their life is reaching out.”
Although it can be a difficult conversation, Morris said that if you’re unsure of what to say, start with something small, like “I’ve noticed you don’t seem yourself. Is everything OK?” She also advises to be on the lookout for changes in sleep or social patterns, extreme mood swings or an increased use of alcohol or drugs. And if you’re concerned, don’t be afraid to directly ask if they’re considering suicide.
All ages, demographics, genders and sexual orientations are at risk for suicide. While contributing factors like substance use, history of mental health issues and socioeconomics can increase someone’s likelihood of suicide, no one is immune.
“Suicide can look like anyone in Wyoming,” Morris added. “There’s no ‘typical person’ at risk. It’s everyone, and this campaign highlights that diversity. We’re showing all of our neighbors.”