Casper Hosts Statewide Suicide Prevention Conference for First Time in 8 Years

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For the first time in 8 years, The 2014 state-wide suicide prevention conference begins today in Casper.
It's an effort to raise awareness about the issue.

Yes, as a matter of fact, Wyoming leads the nation in deaths by suicide per capita, but participants hope the conference will help drop that number.

More than 100 people attended the conference today to learn how to help somebody who may be suicidal and after 8 years without a statewide conference, it was time.

Ofc. Joe Nickerson, PIO at Casper Police Dept. says, "we have the highest suicide per capita rate in the nation, which we mentioned this earlier, we're proud of Wyoming, we like to be number one in things, but that's not something we want to be number one in. So, we'd definitely like to see that trend change."

Although talking about suicide may be uncomfortable for some, any hint or threat of suicide requires immediate help.

Lance Neiberger of Suicide Survivor's Support Group says, "Suicide is often one of those things that's not talked about. The stigma of a suicide is that you kind of lock it in the closet and keep away from it."

There are a few key things you can do to help someone. Be aware of signs and clues, be calm and not judgmental, never leave a suicidal person alone, and sometimes you'll need to call 9-1-1 or take the person to a hospital.

"It's basically a QPR: question, persuade and refer. And it's hard just to even ask the question. Are you suicidal?"

Nickerson says, "it's a great layman's training that anyone can take. It's like around two hours, not much of your time will be taken away from your day. But it gives you some great resources on how to ask the right questions and how to get people referred to the help they need."

Some signs someone may be suicidal are a lack of interest in hobbies, an increase in drug or alcohol use, or even a lack of interest in personal appearance. But it's important for them to know that you're available to talk about it.

Neiberger says, "The biggest thing we can do to help with suicide is to say 'it's okay to talk about it."

There are various warning signs and specific ways to handle a suicidal situation... And you can still learn them tomorrow between 8-30 a-m and 4-30 p-m at the best western ramkota hotel.

Governor Matt Mead will be a guest speaker Thursday, May 8th at 10AM.