2012 saw nineteen suicides in Fremont County, an all-time high for the county, which county coroners say has the highest rate in the state.
Wyoming, in turn, has the highest rates in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A task force comprised of the county coroner, county prevention management, and the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribal health offices met last week and offered free prevention classes to the public at Wind River Casino this week.
Fremont County Suicide Task Force Coordinator Elk Sage led the two-day SAFETALK suicide prevention training at Wind River Casino. He says the free classes train the public to be aware of local resources and to recognize the symptoms of those contemplating suicide.
“Suicide alertness trainings teach you to be alert to risk of suicides and invitations that people give out…giving away all their possessions, withdrawing, mood swings, things like that,” he says.
Sage adds that, in addition to Fremont Counseling Services and other local resources, showing kindness can go a long way in keeping people alive.
“It’s really simple; all you have to do, if you see someone having a bad day, go and talk to them, ask them how they’re doing, look out for each other and the community,” says Sage, “Have love for each other.”
Sage says the victims varied in age and that the only common thread seems to be a history of drug or alcohol addiction.