The Sheridan City Council held a work session Monday, where they received an update from Sheridan County Suicide Prevention Coalition Chair Vanessa Hastings. Hastings went over the results of the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey for Sheridan County High Schools.
Up until recently, the Coalition operated on small annual grants from the Wyoming Department of Health. However, they recently received federal funding through the Department of Health that will help implement a comprehensive youth suicide prevention program in Sheridan County.
Hastings said that after completion of a needs assessment this past spring, the coalition and other key stakeholders have chosen 21 strategies that will be implemented over the three year grant period. One of those strategies is to raise awareness of suicide with several upcoming events, the first of which is the Wyoming Out of the Darkness at Grinnell Plaza Saturday September 11th.
Hastings also stated that a recently issued CDC report ranked Wyoming 4th overall in state suicide rates. When asked by Mayor Dave Kinskey why the numbers were so high, Hastings responded by saying that isolation, substance abuse, and access to lethal means are the three main factors for the State's high suicide rate. If you would like more information on the Sheridan County Suicide Prevention Coalition, you can visit their website here.