CHEYENNE – In a press release Monday, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon announced the state’s suicide lifeline services were expanded and improved to offer full-time, Wyoming-based coverage 24 hours a day, every day of the week.
“Wyoming citizens experiencing a mental health crisis and potentially suicidal thoughts, can now be confident that on the other end of the line, they’re talking to someone who – as a fellow state resident – is familiar with our state and cares about our people,” Gordon explained.
According to the governor’s office, this move is intended to help alleviate the increased number of calls into other suicide-based services within the state and at the national level.
Gov. Gordon’s Communications Director Michael Pearlman wrote, “While the U.S. National Prevention Lifeline has been available via phone (1-800-273-8255 or “TALK”) for many years, calls from state residents before 2020 were answered by people outside the state.”
“Wyoming-based services began that year, but hours were limited due to funding availability,” Pearlman explained. “Full-time, all-day, every-day Wyoming-based coverage began last week.”
Pearlman added, “the governor asked the Legislature to fund the service and expand its availability during the 2022 legislative session and appreciates their support for this initiative.”
Gordon added, “We are confident that the personal connection and the ability to make localized referrals for help will be improved when Wyoming folks can speak to an understanding person in their own state.”
“This critical and free service for those who need it is something I have emphasized for quite some time,” Gordon stated.
Wyoming Department of Health Director Stefan Johansson encourages Wyomingites in distress and concerned about suicidal thoughts to contact lifeline for help. “Talking with someone can make a difference,” Johannson wrote. “It can also be a good idea to call if you are worried about potential suicidal thoughts in a family member or close friend.”
Johansson also noted that a simplified lifeline number (988) on all phones in Wyoming, will become available across the country starting July 16.
“At that point, calls to both the new 988 number and the existing number will be answered,” Johansson explained. “Our department staff plans to promote the new number and consider further lifeline service improvements over time.”
For more information on community-based suicide prevention resources in Wyoming and Goshen County, visit WDH www.health.wyo.gov/publichealth/prevention/wivpp/suicide-prevention/.
On September 26 and 27, WDH is hosting the 2022 Wyoming Suicide Prevention Symposium at the Little America Hotel, 2800 W. Lincolnway, Cheyenne.
For immediate help, Goshen County residents are encouraged to reach out to Peak Wellness Center, 501 Albany, Torrington, by calling (307) 532-4091. All Wyoming residents can text “WYO” to 741-741 for the crisis secured text line.
“People call/text to talk about lots of things,” WDH wrote. Such as “financial troubles, relationships, sexual identity, depression, illness and loneliness to name a few. Talking with someone about your thoughts and feelings can save your life.”