CHEYENNE, WY (February 6, 2020) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the seventh leading cause of death in Wyoming. On Thursday, February 13, advocates from the Wyoming Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will meet with lawmakers to urge their support of future legislative and funding efforts to bring a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL)-affiliated crisis call center to the state. Wyoming is currently only 1 of 2 states across the country without a crisis line center as part of the NSPL network
(1-800-273-8255), forcing Lifeline callers in Wyoming to endure longer wait times to have their calls answered by someone out of state.
“In the brief history of suicide prevention efforts and strategies in Wyoming, there has not been a singular strategy or project that would positively impact Wyoming’s very high suicide rate like the current opportunity to create, fund, and operate a dedicated, Wyoming Call Center for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. A dedicated Wyoming call center would be available to all citizens in all 23 counties and the Wind River Reservation. It will be a resource to de-escalate suicidal crisis situations, connect Wyoming residents with resources in their local communities, and SAVE LIVES and BRING HOPE,” said Bill Hawley, AFSP Wyoming Chapter Co-Chair.
For callers in suicidal crisis, longer wait or hold times are critical and can impact whether a suicide attempt is made or a life can be saved. The use of in-state crisis call centers as opposed to relying on the Lifeline’s six national backup centers is crucial. Wait/hold times are typically shorter, and local counselors at in-state crisis centers are familiar with the community and better equipped to provide culturally competent support and referrals to local services.
The AFSP Wyoming Capitol Day is a special day for all who have a connection with or a personal story around the topic of suicide. Volunteers will meet with their legislators to share their stories about why they participate in this advocacy effort, giving a human face to this important public health problem. Advocates hope that by sharing their stories, they will help lawmakers understand that investments in mental health and suicide prevention can save lives.
AFSP Wyoming advocates are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will visit state capitols across the United States in 2020 to bring best practices in suicide prevention to legislators and their staff. To learn more about AFSP’s advocacy efforts, visit here: https://afsp.org/our-work/advocacy/
On average, 132 Americans died by suicide each day in 2018, and upwards of 90% of those individuals had a diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death. AFSP volunteers will urge state lawmakers to be the voice for the hundreds of residents across the state affected by mental health conditions and suicide each year.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, with a Public Policy Office in Washington, D.C. AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.