Partnerships key to addressing mental health issues in Wyoming

Behavioral Health Center
Behavioral Health Center(Wendy Corr)
Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 9:02 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - In northwest Wyoming, individuals dealing with mental health concerns have few options. Distance between communities, staff shortages and a lack of residential beds for crisis patients are all barriers to both the patients and the professionals treating them.

At the Governor’s Mental Health Summit, which will be held on October 11th in Casper, community partners, private providers and state leaders will come together to propose solutions for Wyoming, which has the highest rate of death by suicide in the nation.

Molly Hughes is the president of the Hughes Charitable Foundation, which is working with the Governor’s office, supporting next week’s summit.

“We’re working with a lot of different nonprofit partners in the state,” said Hughes, “really just trying to find out where we can help connect the nonprofit, for-profit and governmental agencies that are providing services and hoping to maybe create a network using the existing systems and the existing organizations that are in place.”

When it comes to finding answers to the mental health crisis that’s facing the state and the nation, a common solution proposed is partnerships.

In Park County, law enforcement works closely with Yellowstone Behavioral Health. That sort of partnership is key in supporting those who need help, according to Executive Director Becky Ransom.

“That is one of the solutions,” said Ransom. “Working not only in partnership with the whole community, whether it’s schools, law enforcement, other social service agencies, but also in collaboration.”

And next week’s summit will help bring the conversation about mental health more into the open.

“We need to shred the stigma, as they say, and make sure that people know that it’s okay to be sad, to need help and to reach out and find it,” said Hughes.

“The more we talk, the less the stigma,” added Ransom, “and the better chances for treatment, because treatment is successful.”