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
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,
“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
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
• 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
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