This month is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and organizations across Wyoming are taking the opportunity to shed light on the issue. One of those is the Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force, which is hosting a statewide conference on suicide prevention this week.
Traci Gardner, the group’s coordinator, says the event is open to professionals like first responders, law enforcement officials, teachers, and anyone who might need training to deal with suicide. This is the conference’s second year, and Gardner says one focus will be using direct language to help people talk more openly about suicide.
"Giving people an opportunity to reduce that stigma of ‘oh we have to be hush hush we can’t talk about it,’ and really start to kind of push this out across the state. Not just in our own community but across all the communities in Wyoming," says Gardner.
Wyoming currently has the third highest per-capita suicide rate in the country, and consistently ranks in the top five states for per-capita deaths by suicide.
The Wyoming Suicide Prevention Conference will be held Wednesday, September 9th in Casper.