Prevention Coalition, bars aim to lower suicide rates
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Local bars and breweries will begin displaying special beverage coasters starting today. It’s all part of a new initiative. That initiative aims to help veterans who may be going through a crisis.
The Natrona County Suicide Prevention Coalition held a meeting to roll out a new initiative. It was attended by a wide array of guests, from military veterans to Volunteers of America to local police. Statistics show that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Pam Crowell of Veterans Affairs says the coalition is now working with local bars to lower those numbers.
“Advertising and promoting the veteran suicide hotline. The 9-8-8 number. So that everybody has a way to get resources if they know a veteran is in crisis.”
A total of nineteen Natrona County bars and breweries are joining in the fight. Kayla Stevens, Coordinator of the Suicide Prevention Team, says veterans... Or anyone, for that matter... Can be prone to use alcohol to self-medicate. And that’s why they’re partnering with local bars.
“So if people are struggling with PTSD, depression, insomnia... There’s a wide variety of reasons people turn to alcohol. So we know that... There might be a higher likelihood that those people who are going to the bars... Maybe to get that social interaction... To treat some of their mental health issues... Could need to have that veteran crisis line.”
Tina Sterken, a member of the Natrona County Task Force, says preventing suicide is now her life mission. Especially after two very tragic events happened in her life.
“I’ve attempted four times in my life. So I’ve been on that side of it. And I have now lost two people, and I’ve been on that side of it. And... If I don’t give back... I don’t survive.”
Sterken says she is optimistic about this new veteran’s outreach.
“Any way we can find to reach them. Reaching them... And helping them learn to reach out. That’s... That’s the key.”
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