Resources those struggling with suicide and mental health


Finding help when confronting

suicide can seem daunting, particularly

in rural, isolated communities. Stigma

around suicide and mental health can also

prevent people from seeking help.

This stigma needs to be pushed aside, and

people need to know that it is okay to reach

out and that help is available in Sublette

County.

The situation has changed considerably

for people living in the county, said Big

Piney counselor Bill Lehr. When he first

started practicing, Lehr said very few resources

beyond the local doctors existed.

Today a lot more help is available because

of the efforts of the Sublette County Prevention

Coalition, local ministers and licensed

counselors and other community members,

he explained.

“We have a lot of helpers here in our

community,” Lehr said.

Here is a list of local and national resources

for people in Sublette County:

• Call 911: If someone is considering

suicide or have harmed themselves, or they

feel overwhelmed and do not know where to

turn, calling 911 can be a first step.

Dispatchers and deputies at the Sublette

County Sheriff’s Office learn how to respond

to suicide situations when they enter

the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy.

They also receive “ongoing training” on suicide

response throughout their career, said

Sublette County Sheriff Sgt. Travis Bingham.

Responses include engaging the caller

and connecting them to mental health professionals

or other resources.

“(Deputies and dispatchers) use calming

techniques and our training to try and diffuse

the situation and get (the caller) in contact

with a counselor or service that is more specifically

trained and able to work with the

person in the long term,” Bingham said.

If someone has attempted suicide, a dispatcher

will remain connected with the caller

Resources those struggling with suicide and mental health

By Robert Galbreath, [email protected]

Calling all volunteers

until emergency services arrive, he added.

In situations where people are threatening to

harm themselves, the dispatcher will assign

a deputy to the call. The deputy will make

contact with the caller and help the caller

find the right resources, Bingham said.

• High Country Behavioral Health: High

Country offers professional mental health

providers trained to help people struggling

with suicide and other mental health issues.

The organization has a clinician on call for

emergencies. People anywhere in Sublette

County can call 307-367-2111 at any time,

during office hours or after the clinic is

closed, said Pinedale Office Manager Candace

Wyckoff.

The emergency on-call clinician, other

providers and staff will assess the situation

and decide what resources will help each

individual caller. Clinicians are available

in Big Piney and Marbleton to see clients at

the medical center on certain days, Wycoff

said. The first step for anyone dealing with

mental distress or suicide, however, is to call

the number above so professionals can determine

where and how to provide the best

help possible.

• Stephen Ministries: Stephen Ministries

is a nondenominational, Christian-based organization

providing “nonjudgmental listening”

for a range of issues including suicide,

said local organizer Joni Mack. The organization

consists of several different churches

around Pinedale.

Stephen Ministry leaders receive training

to offer support and listening, but are not licensed

mental health providers, Mack said.

The organization can offer prayer-based support,

but are open and welcoming to people

from all backgrounds, including those who

profess other religions or no religion.

“We’re very open minded and nonjudgmental,”

Mack said. “Anyone and anybody

can come to us. Our chief job is listening.”

The services are free and confidential. To

be connected to a Stephen Minister, contact

Public Health at 307-367-2157 or the Rev.

Melinda Bobo, rector at St. Andrew’s in the

Pines Episcopal Church, at 307-749-3265.

• Big Piney/Marbleton Clinics: Information

on local mental health resources are

available at the front desks at both the Big

Piney-Marbleton Clinic and Pinedale Clinic,

said Sublette County Rural Health Care District

Administrative Director Dave Doorn.

• National Suicide Hotline: Due to stigma

around mental health and suicide, seeking

local help in a small community can seem

difficult. Anonymous, free help is available

through the National Suicide Hotline at

1-800-273-8255, or text “Connect” 741741.

Calls and texts are free. Lehr explained that

an actual, live person trained to provide support

and resources answers each call and is

ready to help.

• Sublette County Suicide and Sudden

Death Response Team: This response team,

made up of local counselors, clergy and

other community members, is in place to

help individuals, families and communities

cope in the aftermath of a suicide. Anyone

who is dealing with the loss of a loved one

from suicide can contact Public Health at

307-749-5004, Prevention Coordinator Trisha

Scott at 307-749-5004 or Randy Belton

at 307-231-1450.

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