Every other day someone in Wyoming dies from
suicide. With the highest suicide rate in the nation, quality mental health care
is of the utmost importance for Wyoming’s residents. That’s why the
Behavioral Health Services staff at Campbell County Health takes their role seriously in helping
people through difficult times.
“It’s a tremendous problem around the country,” said
Jeff Rice, director of Behavior Health Services at Campbell County Memorial
Hospital. “The people who tend to commit suicide are not typically
connected to mental health services. That’s why we urge people to
get in to see us if they’re struggling or know a friend is suicidal.
It’s OK to ask for help.”
There’s a wealth of therapists with CCH ready to help at any point
in time, and not just for individuals who may be suicidal, but for anyone
experiencing a number of mental health disorders or just need extra mental
health support. There are currently 11 therapists on staff, including
two psychologists, two licensed social workers and one marriage and family
therapist. The other therapists are licensed professional counselors –
all prepared to help patients navigate the ups and downs of life.
“We get people who, in the course of life, are in some pretty difficult
situations that need some extra support and insight,” Jeff said.
“There’s nothing shameful about coming here. All the therapists
have at least a master’s degree and are licensed through the state
of Wyoming. Plus, every year they’re required to do so many hours
of continuing education.”
When someone seeks services at CCH, they go through an assessment process
and an individualized treatment plan is put into place. Most patients
are set up with outpatient services which can include regular sessions
with a therapist, ongoing drug treatment or medication management
In addition to outpatient therapy, CCH has an
eight-bed inpatient treatment area that has space for adults and adolescents (13 years old and above) available
at the hospital for those in crisis. Typically, patients who are in crisis
are admitted to the
emergency room before being brought to the fifth floor for inpatient mental health treatment.
A typical stay is five to seven days before patients are released with
an extensive follow-up outpatient treatment plan.
In just the last few years, the adolescent beds have been added to the
facility, enabling teens in crisis to remain in the community, close to
family, friends and support systems.
“In the past, parents were stuck having to have kids admitted to
Wyoming Behavioral Institute in Casper or out of state,” Jeff said. “The best case scenario
is always to keep kids in their community.”
With the adolescent beds now in place, Jeff said they’ve been able
to work more closely with kids and families, providing much-needed services
to the community. In addition, through a community-wide effort, the number
of suicides has slowly decreased in the last two years.
“People feel mental illness is something you can just shake off or
that one can pull yourself up by the bootstraps,” Jeff said. “People
don’t realize untreated mental illness can kill you. People can
save their own lives…by making a phone call.”
And the staff in the Behavior Health Services department is ready to assist
patients in getting their lives back on track, addressing addiction issues
and treating any other mental health concerns. The key, Jeff said is just
making the call when times are hard.
“If you’re feeling depressed, make the phone call,” Jeff
said. “Don’t let it get to crisis level.”
Campbell County Health
Behavioral Health Services provides the Northeastern Wyoming community with compassionate, confidential
and comprehensive treatment of behavioral disorders, mental illness and
substance abuse treatment following detox. Learn more by calling 307.688.5000
Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer