Suicide Prevention Dollars Crucial
Written by Andrew-Rossi on April 9, 2018
A local expert says that the restoration of suicide prevention funds will help mental health professionals better serve their patients who may be considering suicide.
Psychologist Terresa Humphries-Wadsworth, who has been working in the mental health field since the mid-1990s, says that when mental health clinicians have advanced training available, they come away energized and more able to help individuals with their most serious life and death situations.
Wadsworth says that her interest in helping people with mental illness began with watching her mother suffer from a chemical imbalance that has affected her ability to function. But Wadsworth says with proper medication and treatment, she is able to live a productive life. That situation, as well as a situation in which a patient committed suicide, convinced her to apply for a state grant to help her better serve others who may be considering ending their lives.
Grants like the ones Wadsworth received for training became unavailable last year, when the Wyoming State Legislature chose to eliminate entirely $2.1 million dollars in funding for suicide prevention. However, $1.5 million of those funds were restored this year, and Wadsworth says that the dollars will help do what’s been proven effective in saving lives.
After the legislature cut funding for suicide prevention last year, Governor Matt Mead urged the members in his state of the state address that Wyoming’s high suicide rate must be taken seriously. Last month, the legislature directed the Department of Health to distribute $8 million dollars to counties for prevention services, with about $2 million of that dedicated for suicide prevention.
Wyoming currently has the fourth-highest suicide rate in the nation, and suicide is the second most common cause of death for people aged 19-24 in the state.