Breaking news and best practices for safeguarding Wyoming youths


April 6, 2010

Brought to you by the Wyoming Department of Health






On March 4, Gov. Dave Freudenthal signed into law a new measure establishing standards for when police should take detained juveniles to jail. Supporters say the bill will give law enforcement a uniform way to assess whether children should be jailed and, if so, whether they need to be held in the most secure facilities. Mental-health assessments and appropriate treatment are vital for children in detention, say experts, where impulsive aggression, substance use and other risk factors for suicide are prevalent.




Marie Osmond’s son may not have lived or died in Wyoming, but the Feb. 26th suicide death of Michael Blosil, 18, has implications for our state and its youth, especially those ages 15- 19. There were 37,397 of Wyoming youngsters in this vulnerable age range as of 2006, and suicide was the second-leading cause of death among them. A common thread running through most suicides? Clinical depression, a condition that can sap strength, deplete energy, eat away at self-esteem, fracture interpersonal relationships—and lead to suicide.




High youth suicide rates in Wyoming have received renewed attention from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, which has awarded the state $1.5 million for youth suicide prevention. This is the second time Wyoming has received this 3-year federal grant funding, in large part because rates of suicide for the state’s youths are among the highest in the nation. The grant runs through 2012 and is administered by the Wyoming Dept. of Health.





Unemployment in Wyoming puts residents at risk for suicide

Employment in Wyoming decreased by 14,400 jobs between January 2009 and January 2010, and that spells risk for the state and its efforts to address rates of suicide that are among the highest in the nation.


That’s because a clear and direct relationship between rates of unemployment and suicide exists, according to latest research.

Family and interpersonal strain from job loss may lead to thoughts of suicide in vulnerable individuals, when typical coping mechanisms are compromised by severe stressors that can come with financial instability.

“These newly released unemployment rates show well the link between the well-being of Wyoming residents and the economic vitality of our state,” says R. Keith Hotle, J.D., who heads statewide suicide prevention efforts from within the Wyoming Dept. of Health in Cheyenne. “Economic strain and personal financial crises have been well documented as precipitating events in individual deaths by suicide. And that bodes poorly for Wyoming as we continue to struggle with gainful employment our population.”


When combined with job loss, loss of home is one of the most common economic strains associated with suicides, Hotle notes. Because of conservative lending practices, Wyoming has been spared the risky borrowing that crashed the real estate market nationally in the past two years. Yet when financial crisis hits, stress can bring about an onset of clinical depression in Wyoming residents of all ages—and depression is one of the major risk factors for suicide.

“Counties throughout Wyoming have active suicide-prevention coalitions that can provide resources to residents and the professionals in health, human services and law enforcement who provide services,” says Hotle. At the state level, Wyoming offers resources including suicide warning signs, understanding and helping a suicidal person, depression and suicide and more. “Suicide is one of the most preventable deaths,” adds Hotle. “We all have a role to play in understanding what the warning signs for suicide are, so we can help those among us who are most vulnerable.”

Loss of 14,400 Wyoming jobs in the past year may place vulnerable state citizens at higher risk for suicide. These include Wyoming people of all ages, including youths who may be unable to find jobs for themselves—and can also bear the stress of parents who are unemployed. The result? Families compromised by stress that can lead to depression and thoughts of suicide as a way out of personal financial crises that, at their worst, can seem hopeless to resolve.

    Thursday, April 15th, 1:30-2:30 MDT, via the Internet:

YOUTH SUICIDE CLUSTERS: What you must know to recognize and respond to a youth suicide contagion

May 20th - 21st, 2010, Colorado State University

BRIDGING THE DIVIDE: Suicide awareness and prevention summit
Regional suicide prevention conference, bringing together the brightest mights and most passionate advocates to help our communities create strategic plans to prevent suicide. Limited number of scholarships available. See website for details.


Check out these online issues of the Well Aware Wyoming policy bulletin for vital information on preventing youth suicide:


This e-mail was sent to you because, by virtue of your professional or personal responsibilities, you play a key role in preventing youth suicide. Disclaimer: Well Aware does not provide medical, diagnostic, or treatment advice. This eBulletin is not a subtitute for consultations with health care providers on issues related to specific conditions or situations.


Well Aware Wyoming is a comprehensive program directed at 7,000 stakeholders in youth suicide prevention in Wyoming—primarily those who set, influence or implement policy in education and other arenas affecting at-risk youths. The Wyoming Dept. of Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Division, in partnership with the state Dept. of Education, brought the Well Aware program to Wyoming in 2008, with funding made possible, in part, by the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. The Well Aware program is multi-faceted and includes webinars, print policy bulletins, eBulletins, posters, bookmarks, banners, conference materials and presentations. Well Aware is a copyrighted program of the PDV Foundation, Inc. To learn more, visit the Well Aware website or contact us at 920-457-4033 or


Click to view this email in a browser

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply to this message with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line or simply click on the following link: Unsubscribe

PDV Foundation
514 North 6th St.
Sheboygan, WI 53081

Read the VerticalResponse marketing policy.

Try Email Marketing with VerticalResponse!