LARAMIE, wyo – The problem of suicides among gay youth has drawn national attention this fall and the Wyoming Department of Health is trying to raise awareness of the resources available in the state to help prevent it. Wyoming typically has among the highest suicide rates in the nation. State Suicide Prevention Specialist Keith Hotle says one of the biggest challenges is encouraging young people to talk to adults. He says 70 percent of kids won't tell an adult if they have a friend who's suicidal.
"They are hesitant to talk to adults about it because they don't feel like - number one, that we don't know how to deal with that subject when it comes to our youth," says Hotle. "And number two that we're going to be judgmental or we're going to come down hard on them. So I think that just being a good friend and a resource to the youth you interact with is a big step in the right direction."
Hotle encourages kids to visit the website A Million Miles from Anywhere dot com. It's directed at Wyoming youth, and includes practical information about recognizing warning signs and getting help. The Wyoming Departments of Health and Education are holding workshops in Cheyenne and Rock Springs this week, to help educators improve school climate and safety for LGBTQ youth.