Wyoming State Parks Partner with Mark Gordon for Mental Health Public Awareness
Written by Caleb Nelson on June 2, 2022
With summer underway here in Wyoming, temperatures and tourism are on the rise. Governor Mark Gordon’s recent Challenge on Suicide Prevention is helping Wyoming State Park visitors understand options for mental health support during their time in the park.
In a press release, the Governor’s office outlined a public messaging campaign called, “You Matter,” which has been launched in Wyoming State Parks. Folks can reach out for assistance and support by calling: 1-800-273-TALK. For text, use 741741. These numbers are part of a statewide hotline. Further, the campaign includes “informational posters” distributed to Wyoming State Parks and historic sites through a partnership with Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.
Another aim of the mental health campaign is to help people understand the benefits of spending time outdoors and the benefits of exercise. Physical exercise has long been associated with health. However, current research is highlighting the substantial impact natural environments have on mental well-being, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).
“There is mounting evidence, from dozens and dozens of researchers, that nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human wellbeing,” says Lisa Nisbet, PhD, a psychologist at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, who studies connectedness to nature. “You can boost your mood just by walking in nature, even in urban nature. And the sense of connection you have with the natural world seems to contribute to happiness even when you’re not physically immersed in nature.”
Wyoming, one of 35 states taking part in the Governor’s Challenge on Suicide Prevention, is partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs to implement state-wide suicide prevention through best practices for service members, veterans, and their families.
“More can be done and we are actively engaged in this area, but I’m glad to see this effort underway,” Governor Gordon said. “It’s my goal for this partnership to highlight how our state parks can be used to support the mental health and wellbeing of our citizens, and to provide another avenue to let visitors know that assistance is available. Wyoming is a beautiful state and getting outdoors can be an important way to find comfort.”