Suicide counseling and prevention resources in Casper - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Suicide counseling and prevention resources in Casper

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Natrona County residents have a number of options when it comes to addressing suicide. There are also statewide and national resources for anyone contemplating suicide, for anyone who has friends or family thinking about suicide and for people who have had suicide impact their lives.

All of the suicide prevention resource providers emphasized that in the case of emergencies, people should immediately dial 911.

“If someone has a plan, call 911,” Self Help Center Director Jennifer Dyer said.

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Emergencies could include anyone who is planning a suicide or people with information about suicide attempts or anyone who knows someone they strongly suspect is preparing for a suicide attempt.

Suicide Warning Signs

The National Institute of Mental Health’s website explains some of the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide and explains who may be at risk of suicide.

“Suicide does not discriminate,” NIMH’s website says. “People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk.”

The main risk factors for suicide are listed as follows by NIMH:

  • A prior suicide attempt
  • Depression and other mental health disorders
  • Substance abuse disorder
  • Family history of a mental health or substance abuse disorder
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Having guns or other firearms in the home
  • Being in prison or jail
  • Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as a family member, peer, or media figure
  • Medical illness
  • Being between the ages of 15 and 24 years or over age 60 

They also describe warning signs that may suggest someone is contemplating suicide:

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
  • Planning or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or newly acquiring potentially lethal items (e.g., firearms, ropes)
  • Talking about great guilt or shame
  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
  • Feeling unbearable pain, both physical or emotional
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Taking risks that could lead to death, such as reckless driving
  • Talking or thinking about death often
  • Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Putting affairs in order, making a will

“If you or someone you know has warning signs or symptoms of suicide, particularly if there is a change in the behavior or a new behavior, get help as soon as possible,”NIMH says.

Local Resources

People in Natrona County have a number of places they can turn to for help.

The Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force’s website lists a number of resources available for both immediate assistance and crisis situations as well as non-crisis resources.

“We intend to reduce suicide by providing information and encouraging action,” reads the Task Force’s mission statement. “Our suicide rate in Natrona County is unacceptably high. Doing nothing is not an option.”

“There are alternatives to suicide and other destructive behaviors. Each person is important and indispensable. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business.”

Brittlyn Bulgrin, who works for the organization, says that the most important thing is that people know that they have support options and that they feel comfortable reaching out.

She added that the Task Force helps train people in a suicide prevention strategy known as “QPR,” which stands for “Question, Persuade, Refer.” Service providers who partner with the Task Force have been trained to use this strategy. (Oil City will explore this topic in more depth in future articles.)

Immediate and Crisis Assistance Options

The Central Wyoming Counseling Center (307-237-9583), Wyoming Behavioral Institute (800-457-9312)and the Wyoming Medical Center (307-237-9583) are all places people can reach out to for immediate assistance or for crisis situations listed on the Task Force’s website.

Central Wyoming Counseling Center Director of Youth and Family Services Bill Howell says that CWCC offers crisis stabilization services. He explained that what that entails is having someone come to the center to talk with the center’s mental health care professionals.

CWCC’s intake team can help assess a person’s situation and get them the help they need. Howell said that sometimes that can mean people staying at the clinic short-term, often between four and seven days, until their crisis has stabilized.

CWCC’s mental health professionals will provide assistance during this process and make sure people have the resources they need as they transition out of a crisis.

Howell added that CWCC and other organizations like WBI and the WMC also have “Zero-Suicide”initiative committees that ensure their entire staff, including non-medical staff, are educated in suicide prevention. (Oil City will look at the Zero-Suicide initiative in more depth in a future article.)

The Wyoming Behavioral Institute and the Wyoming Medical Center are other places people can turn to.

““Wyoming Behavioral Institute offers confidential level of care assessments 24/7.” WBI’s Director of Business Development Emily Quarterman Genoff said. “For an assessment or for more information, go to WBI, 2521 East 15thStreet, or call 800-457-9312.”

“Information gathered by WBI’s assessment team is reviewed by psychiatrists who recommend a level of care for the individual.”

Genoff added that WBI has a “Casper Area Mental Health Resources” list that includes outpatient psychiatric care options, psychologists, private mental health specialists, veterans mental health services, addictions assessment and treatment options, crisis shelters and other mental health services. For more information about this list, contact WBI.

Assessments are also available by going to the emergency room at the WMC, though there is a charge for going to the emergency room.

The Self Help Center offers a 24-hour hotline (307-235-2814) for victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

“Our highly-trained advocates are available 24/7 to talk confidentially with victims or friends and family of victims experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and elder abuse,” their website explains.

“This service links victims directly to an advocate who provides support, resources and information to callers, and arranges or provides in-person support of victims at the hospital or assist victims with shelter services.”

Non-Crisis Services

The Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force’s website also lists some resources for non-crisis suicide prevention. Those include the Mercer Family Resource Center (307-265-7366) and the Central Wyoming Counseling Center (307-237-9583).

Mercer offers resources for families, individuals and adolescents struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues.

“Mercer Family Resource Center provides education, counseling, and prevention services that build stronger and healthier youth and families in our community,” their website reads.

“We serve the community in the following ways: family/parenting education; early intervention for alcohol use and life skills; community connection, such as mentoring and case management; and environmental strategies for policy change and social norming.”

In addition to the crisis intervention services available at CWCC, they also offer counseling for non-crisis situations.

“The staff at Central are trained, qualified and licensed professionals who are here to help you and your loved ones with comprehensive behavioral healthcare,” CWCC’s website states.

“Studies have shown that the majority of people who receive mental health treatment experience symptom relief and a better quality of life. If you or someone you love is looking for behavioral health support, hope is here.”

Student Resource: Safe2Tell Wyoming

The Safe2Tell Wyoming Program offers students a confidential safety tipline where they can find support they might need.

“Students are faced with many adult sized problems and bullying and are not sure how to cope,” Safe2Tell Wyoming Public Relations Specialist Samantha Kanish said. “Studies have shown that kids know what is going on with their peers well before an adult.”

“Our program relies on students, parents, and concerned community members to make a report confidentially if they feel they themselves or someone they know is struggling.”

“We provide three ways for them to make a report, by phone at 1-844-WYO-SAFE, by our website, www.safe2tellwy.org, or through our free mobile app available for free on the Google Play or Apple App Store.”

Statewide Services

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s website provides information about suicide prevention services in Wyoming.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Wyoming (888-882-4968) has resources and services to assist people living with mental illnesses and their families.

“NAMI Wyoming provides a variety of services to educate and support individuals who live with mental illness,” their webiste says.

The Wyoming Department of Health’s “Wyoming Suicide Prevention Resource Guide” lists prevention services by county.

National Resources

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

“We can all help prevent suicide,” the Lifeline’s website reads. “The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.”

The Suicide Resource Prevention Center also has a large number of resources and information available.

Support Groups

In addition to suicide prevention resources, there are also support services available for those who have been impacted by suicide.

Drew’s Decision (307-277-5667) offers counseling and other support services for anyone who has been affected by suicide.

“[Our mission is] to provides services to those who have been left shocked and hurt by suicide,” their mission statement reads. “We can help with planning memorial services and counseling and just someone to talk to that has felt the pain of having to move on.”

Drew’s Decision offers a “Halos: Healing after Loss of Suicide” support group for children and teenagers. They meet every other Tuesday from 6-7:30 p.m. at 1200 East Third Street in Casper.

The Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force’s website says there is a Suicide Survivors Support Group that meets every first and third Thursday of each month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at 1032 East First Street in Casper. People can contact Julie Raines at 307-247-4726 for more information.

The website lists another support group, “JR’s Hunt for Life.” They meet every first and third Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the 1224 Club, located at 500 South Wolcott Street in Casper. People can contact Jenny Hunter at 307-259-6032 for more information.

Suicide Prevention training

There are some suicide prevention training programs in place for some different organizations in Casper. (Oil City will update this section as we learn more about this training.)

Law enforcement officers in Natrona County are able to receive training to deal with mental illness and suicide prevention skills from the Crisis Intervention Team, according to Lieutenant John Becker of the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office. More information about that training is available here.

More information to come

Oil City will continue to look at resources to assist in suicide prevention. There is training available via the Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force and other organizations. We will explore some of those training options in a future article.

If you have more information about local, state, or national suicide prevention resources or other suicide support groups please email us at news@oilcitywyo.com and we will update this resource list.

As a reminder, in the case of emergencies, people should dial 911.