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CASPER, Wyo — The Central Wyoming Counseling Center (CWCC) said in release Monday it will commemorate the grand opening of Wyoming’s first local suicide call center with a private ribbon cutting ceremony and remarks from Governor Mark Gordon Tuesday, Aug. 11. The ceremony will be at 11:00 a.m. at CWCC.

The CWCC Suicide Prevention Lifeline will connect callers across Wyoming who are facing suicide and other kinds of crises with counseling and relevant local services, said CWCC.

“Asking for help is the new cowboy tough, and CWCC is so proud to be Wyoming’s lifeline. We are hopeful that this new center will save lives,” said Bernice Hazucha, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline director.

“Although Wyoming annually faces devastating suicide rates, we’ve been behind the rest of the country in providing a local call center resource. Last year, Wyoming had the country’s second highest suicide per capita rate, and we were the only state that didn’t have our own suicide call center,” Hazucha said.

She said the CWCC has been working on this project for almost two years, and is finally launching with the help of Governor Gordon and the Wyoming Department of Health.

Hazucha, who worked for a suicide call center in New York state for more than 18 years, was instrumental in bringing the call center to Wyoming, said CWCC.

CWCC said Wyoming residents previously had access to national suicide call centers, but had difficulty connecting with responders who were across the country. The new call center physically located on the CWCC campus will be staffed by Wyoming residents who understand the state’s unique challenges, said the release.

“By having this resource here, we’re going to be able to relate to our callers better, and we’ll be better equipped to connect them to the resources they need to successfully get through whatever trauma they’re facing,” Hazucha said. 

The lifeline is still in its early stages and doesn’t have 24/7 staffing yet, but CWCC said it is seeking funding and donations to expand hours and operations.

The private ribbon cutting ceremony will mark the call center’s official opening, and the center will be open to callers at 4:00 p.m” More information is available via CWCC at 307-237-9583 ext. 528.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or is contemplating suicide, you can call or text 988.