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Employee of the Month – February 2024: Lori Riddle, Kitchen Manager

CWCC News, Employee Spotlights

What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
The people. Clients & Staff.

What do you like most about the work you do here?
Feeding hungry people good food.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
I got married in October 2023 after 28 years of being single.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I would like to be able to be in two places at the same time.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I would like to go back to Germany and take my family. I could show my son where he was born. It is such a beautiful place.

Employee of the Month – February 2024: Reagan Crawford, Residential Technician

CWCC News, Employee Spotlights

What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
The opportunity to help others in the community.

What do you like most about the work you do here?
The “Aha!” moments. Every once in a while, I get to witness moments of profound insight. Whether that’s the clients piecing things together or us as a team. It’s by far my favorite part.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
I went to a Tool concert.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I would want Retrocognition, like from Watchmen or Sway from X-men.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Ireland, because it is absolutely breathtaking, and I love the way they speak.

Central Wyoming Counseling Center Luggage Drive


It’s said that the longest journeys begin with a single step. For many people, that first step is often the hardest one to take. When clients of Central Wyoming Counseling Center’s Residential Treatment program take their first steps toward a new life, they do so with the understanding that it’s not going to be easy. They know that before they can build the rest of their lives, they have to develop a solid foundation upon which to build it. CWCC tries to help them with that. 

The Central Wyoming Counseling Center offers tools, tricks, and tips on how to reclaim one’s life and it’s amazing how important the simple things are to that process. 

One of the simplest, but often overlooked aspects of any journey is having proper luggage to carry one’s belongings. It sounds inconsequential, but having a proper bag to carry belongings in can make an enormous difference in the lives of CWCC’s residential clients as they transition back to everyday life. 

The team at Central Wyoming Counseling Center understand this, which is why they are currently in the midst of a “Luggage Drive,” which offers proper luggage to clients beginning to take their next steps towards reclaiming their lives. 

“A lot of the population that comes through CWCC, obviously not exclusively but there are a lot, deal with homelessness issues,” said Christopher Young, a Compliance Specialist with CWCC. “A lot of the time when these people come in,they’re bringing their stuff in Walmart bags or Trader Joe’s reusable bags.”

Young said that clients will accrue even more items during their stay in the residential program, which makes it nearly impossible to transport everything in the bags they brought in. 

“When they leave, there isn’t a lot of dignity in packing all of your stuff up in a Trader Joe’s bag,” Young said. “And we didn’t like the way that possibly felt for them, so we asked ourselves, ‘What can we do about that?’ And this was the answer that we came up with.” 

That answer is a Luggage Drive, happening at Central Wyoming Counseling Center from now until January 31, 2024. CWCC is collecting any type of luggage, from carry-on sized bags to duffle bags; even backpacks. As long as the bags are clean and in good condition, CWCC will take them. They will then be able to offer a donated bag to any client in need, for as long as the donated supplies last. 

An important part of that next chapter is being able to walk out of CWCC with a sense of pride after having completed some of the hardest, most important work a person has ever done. The CWCC Residential program is not just a place to spend a month or more “getting clean.” It’s an opportunity to explore the circumstances that led a person down a path of addiction. 

Per the CWCC website, the Residential Treatment program “provides individual counseling and group counseling, teaching clients about the addiction process and how to deal with their mental health in a more productive manner. The therapists at CWCC work to deconstruct the symptom to find the root cause. CWCC also provides groups on cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as training specifically designed for parents. These individuals are specifically trained to help clients work through addiction issues and find healthy coping mechanisms.”

It’s hard work. It’s important work. And completing treatment should be, and is, one of the greatest victories of a person’s life. They took that first step, the hardest step.  But it’s important to keep moving forward, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s important to keep taking those next steps, to move forward in that journey.

And that’s a lot easier to do when you have the proper luggage. 

“I think being able to see yourself in a better place can be tied to how you see yourself where you are now,” Young stated. “If you’re carrying your stuff out in a trash bag, versus like, a Samsonite suitcase, there’s a big difference. It’s kind of about how we carry ourselves; how we perceive ourselves. And that’s one of the things that we want to help people with – learning how to see yourself in a better way.” 

So far, the Luggage Drive has seen an enthusiastic response, particularly from one of CWCC’s board members who donated several types of luggage of all different sizes, but more is always needed. 

“It’s kind of one of those things you don’t really think about,” Young said. “It’s easy to think about coats and shoes and clothes and things like that. All of that stuff is important and necessary. But I think it’s easy to forget something like, ‘How am I going to transport my shoes and coat?’” 

It’s a simple thing, really. But it’s absolutely necessary, and not just for practical reasons. Kendall TeBeest, the grant writer and fundraising development coordinator for CWCC agreed that when a client leaves Central Wyoming Counseling Center, they’re about to enter a new, tough, important chapter of their lives. Being able to do that with their head held high, with a little bit of dignity, can mean a world of difference. 

“To me, we’re helping these individuals start a new journey,” TeBeest said. “And this is just one other way; one other tool that we can give them to start this next chapter. With our Residential Treatment program, we’re encouraging people to start fresh, to start clean, to start new habits and maybe get rid of some of the old ones. And this luggage drive is kind of a symbolic way for us to help our clients continue on their journey. Recovery is a journey, not a destination. And we want to help them pack.” The Luggage Drive is happening now through Jan. 31, 2024 inside the main lobby of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center. For more information, contact us or follow us on Facebook.

Employee Spotlight: Jennifer Helmer, PMHNP-BC

CWCC News, Employee Spotlights

What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
I started working at CWCC in September 2023. On the second day of work, I learned that my certification board required an additional course before I could become certified. I am so grateful to CWCC administrators for working with me while I completed this additional and unexpected requirement! During my time awaiting my certification I was able to provide medical services as a family nurse practitioner. I also had the opportunity to learn about alcohol withdrawal management. Through this learning, I developed a standing order protocol, which I hope will be helpful as we expand this service here at CWCC. Upon completion of the required course, I was approved by the certification board to sit for my licensing examination, and I am so thankful to report that I passed!

What do you like most about the work you do here?
I have enjoyed learning about the many different programs that are available here at CWCC. During these past few months, I have really treasured the opportunity to meet many of my colleagues. It has been exciting to learn about the valuable services they each provide.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
The course that was required for my certification was Advanced Pathophysiology. Although it was unfortunate that the need for this course delayed my certification, I honestly loved taking it! I learned so much and feel I am a more knowledgeable provider because of the content in this course!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
This is an interesting question! I have lived in many countries around the world. My late husband was from the island nation of Fiji and I learned a great deal about island culture while living and working in Fiji. I would love to travel back to Fiji to see my nieces and nephews again. Unfortunately, I may not be able to go to Fiji anytime soon. However, I do have a nephew living in Mexico. He is getting married later this year. I look forward to traveling with my husband to Oaxaca, Mexico, to celebrate with my nephew for this wonderful occasion!

Employee of the Month – January 2024: Heidi Dacus, Residential Technician

CWCC News, Employee Spotlights

What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
Seeing the success of our residents and the staff I work with.

What do you like most about the work you do here?
Being able to help people and watching the growth they make while here.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
I became a new grandma and traveled to Texas.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
To see myself through other’s eyes and take pain away.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
The Dead Sea. I would love to see Bethlehem and soak in the sea.

Employee Spotlight: Julie Judd, LCSW

Employee Spotlights, CWCC News

What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
Working with the youth.

What do you like most about the work you do here?
The relationships that I have made and the support that I have received from my school-based team.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
A CCTP Training

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
The superpower of teleportation.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Italy; the culture.

CWCC Offering ‘Christmas Giving Tree’ for Casper families


For many people, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” But the holidays, for others, aren’t as nice. For some, they’re incredibly stressful, overwhelming, and sad. Often, people don’t have anywhere, or anybody, to come home to, and the simple act of giving a gift can result in panic attacks and anxiety.

Central Wyoming Counseling Center understands this, which is why their services are even more pivotal during the holiday season. It’s also why the staff at CWCC have come together to offer a ‘Christmas Giving Tree’ to local families this Christmas.

“We reached out, through our counselors and case managers, to various clients who might need some help this Christmas,” stated Kendall TeBeest, the Community Development Specialist for the Central Wyoming Counseling Center. “We had applications in our lobby and our clients were able to fill out an application if they wanted to for their families.”

It’s not a unique idea, but it doesn’t need to be. Year-round, CWCC strives to be a resource for the community – offering peace of mind, help, and hope. So this Christmas, they wanted to do that very same thing for families who need a little extra help, a little extra hope.

“We have about 20 kids on our tree. Community members and CWCC staff are all welcome to grab a name,” said TeBeest. “Monetary gifts are also welcomed. The holiday season is busy, and we understand you may not have time to shop, so we’re encouraging people to donate cash because we have a committee that, at the end of the week, is going to go shopping to make sure that we get every name off of the tree.” CWCC asks that any gift donations be brought to the CWCC campus by December 15th.

This year, CWCC’s Christmas Giving Tree has between 12 and 14 families, some with multiple children. It’s been a fun experience for the staff of CWCC, a chance to give back to the community and really demonstrate their devotion to being a safe, warm, inviting place for those men, women, and children who
would benefit from their services.

Of course, CWCC wouldn’t be able to do what they do if it wasn’t for the community giving back to them. The Central Wyoming Counseling Center is a non-profit organization. They serve as a resource for anybody who comes to them looking for help. “It’s incredibly rewarding to see the generous nature of so many of our community members,” TeBeest stated. “People give throughout the year, but we do see an increase during the holidays, with people thinking of CWCC with their year-end giving; sometimes we’re the recipient of that, and we are humble and grateful for the support. Community donations are incredibly important to CWCC; both for the financial aspect, obviously, but also because it shows that our community really believes in the services CWCC provides.”

The Central Wyoming Counseling Center exists to inspire hope in people. And no matter how magical the holiday season is, for some people, hope is still hard to come by. The staff at CWCC are doing all they can to help as many people as they’re able, and it’s because of the support from the Casper community that they’re able to do so.

“As an agency, we’re in the nature of helping people,” TeBeest said. “Our goal is to provide help in any way that we can, whether it’s the services that we provide or, now, with the steps we’ve taken to help out with the holiday season. So, stay hopeful and positive and know that CWCC is here for you, we love you, we care about you, and we’re determined to help in any and every way we can.”

For more information about the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, visit their website. If you’re interested in making a donation, you can visit

Employee Spotlight: Kayla Pivik, LCSW

CWCC News, Employee Spotlights

What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
What isn’t my favorite part of CWCC? I think my favorite part of CWCC is being a part of a team that wants to help the community and promote growth internally and externally.

What do you like most about the work you do here?
What I like most about the work that I do here is being able to promote micro, mezzo, and macro change. I am able to grow personally and professionally. I am never doing the same thing every day, and I enjoy working with the clients I am meant to serve. I like the diverse programs that are offered at CWCC.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
The most interesting thing I have done was begin to promote change in our residential treatment facility.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
If I could have any superpower, it would be to shape-shift into any animal so I can talk.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to Czechoslovakia as that is where my last name originated from, and it is so culturally diverse and has beautiful scenery.

Employee of the Month – December 2023: John Marquiss, LCSW

CWCC News, Employee Spotlights

What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
I like the people I work with. There are a ton of incredible staff whose dedication to the clients really shines through their work.

What do you like most about the work you do here?
I feel good about being able to make an impact on people who struggle to ask for help and who find a way to make it here to the building.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
I learned how to do some DIY bathroom remodeling, including some important things not to do if you don’t want to flood a bathroom.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I would want to stop time like Piper from Charmed, that was always my favorite. I don’t think this one will ever change.

Employee of the Month – December 2023 – David Kurtz, Residential Technician

Employee Spotlights, CWCC News

What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
Seeing the growth that clients make during their stay here.

What do you like most about the work you do here?
Helping those who are going through tough times better themselves.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
I had an interesting Thanksgiving dinner due to illnesses and distance where three households facetimed in order to still celebrate with family. In this way, I was able to see my younger sister for the first time in two years.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
It would be teleportation. Being able to go where I wanted without travel time or expense would be enjoyable.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I would like to travel to Poland where my family lived before immigrating to the United States.

Central Wyoming Counseling Center Appoints Zully Garcia-Diaz as Residential Unit Coordinator 


Zully García-Díaz was recently named the Residential Unit Coordinator for the Central Wyoming Counseling Center. 

In this position, Ms. García-Díaz continues to utilize her skills, experience, and knowledge to provide exceptional care to CWCC clients. 

Ms. García-Díaz has always had an interest in the field of mental health. At university, she majored in psychology, and while her interest was piqued, she wasn’t sure whether she wanted to be a psychologist. So, after she finished her undergraduate degree, she began working for a mental health hospital in the acute unit. 

Anyone who has worked in an acute unit for a mental health hospital knows that it is not the job for everyone. One needs to be patient, diligent, and aware of their surroundings. More than anything else, they need to have compassion. Ms. García-Díaz is a compassionate person, and it was in this acute inpatient setting that she realized she wanted to work in the mental health field.

“It was a big hospital,” she said, “I used to live in New Orleans. There were a lot of people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic conditions. And I said, ‘I want to do this. I can do this.’” So, she did. 

Ms. García-Díaz graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans with a master’s degree in social work. She is also an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker). For a number of years, she worked with families and children in New Orleans before moving to Salt Lake City, Utah. While there, she served as the Clinical Supervisor for the House of Hope, a non-profit organization that provides treatment for mothers with substance use disorders and their children.

After living in Salt Lake City, Ms. García-Díaz and her husband decided to move to Wyoming. They chose to move to a smaller town that offered enough services to meet their needs. They found it in Casper, Wyoming.  

For the last nine years, Ms. García-Díaz has served Central Wyoming Counseling Center in various roles. She started in the Substance Use Disorder unit and has also worked in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program, the Crisis Unit, and other roles at CWCC.  

In her new position, she oversees a treatment team who are dedicated to providing a safe place for their clients to find sobriety, to live in peace, and to become who they are.

“Many clients who come to the residential program have never been able to maintain sobriety in the community. They don’t have the necessary sober support systems in place when they want to get help because they still have access to different substances. Many of our clients are homeless, so they don’t have a place to go to be safe. We have clients coming from domestic violence situations who are financially scrapped.” 

CWCC serves a wide variety of clientele from different walks of life.  Ms. García-Díaz understands that not every plan works for every individual. She knows that treatment offers sobriety, along with the peace that comes with it.

“Our job is to assist our clients to be in a safe place to gain skills to develop sobriety.” She states it is also important to acknowledge that many of our clients with substance use disorders are also survivors of trauma. 

CWCC is dedicated to addressing all areas of mental health and substance use disorders. This may be one of the big reasons that Ms. García-Díaz has spent the better part of a decade working at CWCC. She said she is proud to be a part of an organization that views clients holistically and CWCC provides real solutions. 

“When we look at all these circumstances with men and women, we need to remove them from those environments,” she said. “We need to help them find housing. We need to help them find employment. Some of them don’t even have IDs, so we help them with that – all simple things that so many of us take for granted.” 

“We serve so many populations. And we use a team approach with each client. We help them to be reacquainted in the community. We help them find housing and find jobs that make them feel productive. We help them with disability benefits. We help them find their purpose.” 

That is the mission of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center – to help their clients find their purpose. Years ago, Zully Garcia-Diaz found hers, and she hasn’t looked back. To learn more about the team at the Central Wyoming Counseling Center and the services they provide, visit the CWCC website or follow them on Facebook.

Employee of the Month – November 2023: Sandra Milliken, Clinician

CWCC News, Employee Spotlights

What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
I enjoy having the opportunity to meet with clients and hear their stories to identify the ways that CWCC can assist them and to engage them in services to meet their needs.

What do you like most about the work you do here?
I enjoy meeting with a variety of clients. Every client is unique, which makes each day different and challenging. I enjoy working with coworkers who are supportive and equally committed to helping clients with their concerns.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
I recently traveled to Washington State for my husband’s family reunion. Also, the time I get to spend with my grandchildren is fun and interesting!

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
My superpower would be to teleport myself to wherever I wanted to go. This would reduce my commute time. I also wouldn’t have to travel by plane.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I would like to travel to Ireland and England. My mother was an Irish immigrant from England, so I would like to experience her homeland.

Employee of the Month – November 2023: Chris Young, Compliance Specialist

CWCC News, Employee Spotlights

What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
I enjoy working where I feel like I can make a difference in my community.

What do you like most about the work you do here?
I like supporting a team of people dedicated to helping others.  Mental health issues and addiction are major problems, and I’m very proud to support a team dedicated to helping people overcome these obstacles.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
I recently became co-chair of the safety committee.  In that role I’ve worked with our safety team to design emergency drills that better prepare our team for those critical moments.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Easy!  Super-speed.  Have you seen gas prices?

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I think London would be great.  Getting to see a new part of the world but still being able to communicate.  Paris is a close second, though.

Central Wyoming Counseling Center on Mental Health and Homelessness


Wyoming News Now recently did a series on Casper’s growing homeless population. As part of the series, they interviewed Central Wyoming Counseling Center’s Chief Clinical Officer, Tabbi Madrigal. 

CWCC in Casper sees many homeless patients. Madrigal said, “It is true that a lot of people who are homeless struggle with mental health or addiction issues. We see both. People who are dually diagnosed with both disorders.” Click here to see the full interview.

CWCC appointments new CEO, Jim Cowser

CWCC News, Behavioral Health News

Central Wyoming Counseling Center is proud to announce the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jim Cowser. With a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Louisville, Jim holds an LCSW and Masters Certified Addiction Professional credential. Cowser brings decades of experience in the world of mental health and Substance Use Treatment services to CWCC. Throughout his career, he has worked with a wide range of populations within various levels of care from outpatient to residential to acute services. His background includes extensive experience with co-occurring services, rural healthcare and community deflection initiatives. 

Central Wyoming Counseling Center has provided innovative care for decades in Natrona County. CWCC offers a variety of Behavioral Health and Substance Use Treatment services for adults and adolescents. Those services include individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy and couples counseling, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Treatment) and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). CWCC also offers Intensive Outpatient Treatment, Residential Treatment, 988 services, school-based programming and jail-based services.

In taking on the role of CEO, Cowser brings a well-grounded familiarity with CWCC and an understanding of the state of mental health services within Wyoming. As a consultant, Cowser has spent time working with other mental health organizations in Wyoming and met the team at Central Wyoming Counseling Center in that capacity.

“I actually met the staff as a consultant several years ago,” Cowser said. “We led a training in the facility and met providers from across the state. It was impressive to see the services being offered in Wyoming and the amount of reach that CWCC had. I’ve had a sense of admiration for CWCC since that time.” 

As CEO, Cowser intends to continue the mission of CWCC and improve upon recent innovations implemented by the organization’s dedicated staff and interim director Steve Corsi. He also wants to explore new and exciting directions that will benefit the residents of Natrona County and the State of Wyoming. Cowser is excited to be on this new journey with CWCC and he believes the team at CWCC is well positioned to continue to serve the community.

Employee Spotlight:  Amy Berry 

Employee Spotlights, CWCC News

Amy Berry works as a clinician at CWCC. She has been part of the CWCC team for 13 years, and we are grateful to have her as part of our team.

We asked Amy a few questions to get to know her better, and here are her answers.

  1. What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?  My favorite part about working at CWCC is watching people grow and find relief from their mental illness and when people start to see their full potential and regain hope for their future. 
  2. What do you like most about the work you do here?  Out of everything I do here, I enjoy facilitating groups with the residential clients most. 
  3. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?  Climbed to the white rocks on the hills at Cotton Wood. 
  4. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?   My superpower of choice would be to have ultimate consciousness. 
  5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?   Yikes, I don’t know where. I can only imagine what it would look like in my mind. Somewhere beautiful, with waterfalls, near the ocean, overseas. I would definitely like to go to Utah National Parks as well. 

Employee of the Month – September 2023: Heather Spurlin

CWCC News, Employee Spotlights

1. What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?

I love helping people get on track to recovery.

2. What do you like most about the work you do here?

Watching clients rebuild relationships that have been destroyed by addiction. Watching kids reunite with their mothers. Watching men grow back into who they were before addiction hit.

3. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?

Going into the jails and hospitals to do AS l’s and help navigate people in the right direction to get the treatment that is appropriate for them.

4. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I would cast out all diseases in the world.

5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Israel, to walk where Jesus once walked.

Employee of the Month – September 2023: Don Sandoval

CWCC News, Employee Spotlights

1. What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?

Finishing work tickets.

2. What do you like most about the work you do here?

Making a difference and helping others

3. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?

Learn how to say new words in the Cheyenne language.

4. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?


5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I would go to the ocean for peace of mind.

We’ve Got You: Central Wyoming Counseling Center on New Beginnings and New Opportunities to Serve Wyoming


Central Wyoming Counseling Center has currently undergone a multitude of changes, both in front of and behind the scenes. CWCC’s acting CEO, Steve Corsi, brings with him a wealth of knowledge, experience, innovation and, most importantly, empathy for the people of Casper and beyond. He also brings with him the desire to lead CWCC to even greater heights and he knows that the best way to do that is to put people in positions in which they will thrive.

That is what CWCC has done recently, and the results have already begun to speak for themselves.

“We have a CEO in place right now, in Steve Corsi, and he’s leading us to be leaders,” said Sarah Sulzen, the newly-appointed Chief Operating Officer of CWCC. “And we’re going to do the same thing with our staff. We’re going to help them grow as leaders and build a firm foundation for this industry.”

As part of that growth, CWCC has also promoted Tabitha Madrigal to the position of Chief Clinical Officer, and Nancy Harns to the position of Program Director of Residential Services. All three women have been a part of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center for years, in various capacities.

“Being put in these positions has given us an opportunity to say ‘This is our focus,’” Sulzen said. “We want to provide superior care for the people we serve and that’s why we’re all here. And I think being put in these positions where we can energize people and work as a team – it’s a really great opportunity for the people in this community, and for us.”

Central Wyoming Counseling Center has recently added, changed, and re-vamped some of its services in order to provide the best quality care to the community.

CWCC provides a broad range of behavioral health and substance abuse services.  Services include outpatient and telehealth services for mental health and substance use, Crisis Stabilization Services, Social Detoxification and Residential Substance Use Treatment services and Recovery Support Services. Additionally, CWCC offers services for children, adolescents and families, including Wrap-Around Services, School-Based Services, and more. Central Wyoming Counseling Center also operates a Suicide Prevention and Crisis Lifeline. 

All of these services, including telehealth therapy, are designed to provide a safe space for the community to go when they need help. Asking for help is okay. Not being okay is okay. And CWCC strives to be a place for the community to go to when things aren’t okay.

“Besides revitalizing our residential treatment substance use facility, we are, through the support of the Natrona Collective Health Trust, restarting our wraparound services, which is focused on helping youth with behavioral issues,” Sulzen revealed. “We’ve also received some additional funding from the state of Wyoming to strengthen our lifeline services, so we’re expanding those.”

CWCC works collaboratively with the Wyoming Lifeline to now offer a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline. The agency has also begun implementing telehealth services in order to provide individual and group therapy to those who may not be able to come to a physical location every week.

“We’re looking at, agency-wide, how can we be more innovative?” Madrigal said. “How can we be more creative? We’ve got limited resources, so how can we be creative with them and meet folks where they are? If that means going to them instead of them coming to us, then we’ll do that. If it’s creating new programs, if it’s creating new times of the day – it comes back to, ‘What’s the community need?’ If people have an 8-5 job that they can’t get away from, then we’ll extend our hours, or we’ll open up services on the weekend.”

The goal is to be as accessible as possible to anyone who may require the services of CWCC.

“Everybody on our leadership team lives in this community,” Madrigal said. “I live in this community. This is my home. And this agency has been my home for a long time, so it’s important to me, and to us as a leadership team, to be there for the community. We’re here for the community. We’re here because we’re passionate about helping our friends, our families, our neighbors, because that’s just who we are.”

Madrigal stated that the therapists, leadership team, and support staff at CWCC have refocused their mission and are intent on reshaping their existing programs and also building some new programs as well.

CWCC has always been a client-focused organization; that’s the entire point of its existence. But this new team is dedicated to ensuring that every single person who walks through their doors does so with an understanding that they’re not there as a punishment; they won’t be judged, they won’t be mocked, they won’t be criticized. They can walk through the doors of CWCC knowing that they will be taken care of.

“I know this sounds…cliche,” Harns said. “But hope is here. Really. We exist to be the place that provides hope to people, so that they can be confident when they come here and say to themselves, ‘These people care about me, and they’re going to help me along the way, and they know I’m going to have missteps, but they’re not going to give up on me because it’s difficult.’”

Too often, people dealing with mental health issues don’t want to burden those around them. They don’t want to feel as though they’re taking up time or space because their problems “really aren’t that important.”

But CWCC knows they are important. The staff of CWCC also know that their job, their purpose, is to make the time and the space. And that is what they do, day after day.

“Nobody’s got it together all the time,” Madrigal shared. “We all have our moments. And for me, I try to look at every person who comes through our door and, sometimes, they’re really broken. And it’s our job, our privilege, to say ‘I got you. I got this. For you.’”

And that, in the simplest of terms, is what the Central Wyoming Counseling Center offers the people of this community. It’s a promise, a pledge. It’s a hug. It’s a blanket. It’s an ‘I got you, and I’m not letting go.’

Sometimes, that’s all a person needs.To find out more about the services of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, or to schedule an appointment with one of their therapists, visit the CWCC website.

Employee of the Month – August 2023: Hannah Grube, Crisis Intervention Specialist

Employee Spotlights, CWCC News

1. What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?

Communication, support, honesty, opportunity for Growth (and birthday cake Fridays).

2. What do you like most about the work you do here?

I am given countless opportunities to help people. Clients, clinicians, callers, coworkers, etc. I have been handed the ability to learn where help is needed, and to go there. Most of all, knowing that, if nothing else – I’ve saved lives in my time here.

3. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?

Yankee’s Game, rodeos, fishing, trying to fit all the fun things into summer.

4. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Reference Encanto – To heal all with my baked goods.

5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

The Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland, or The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland.

Employee of the Month – August 2023: Stacey Bowman, CSW

Employee Spotlights, CWCC News
  1. What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
    My favorite part of working at CWCC is getting to see clients work towards sobriety and change.
  2. What do you like most about the work you do here?
    I get to interact with clients every day, and you never know where the day might lead.
  3. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
    I work my hardest at work and am completing my master’s degree in social work. Not a lot of
    interesting things.
  4. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
    I would want the ability to clone or duplicate myself.
  5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
    I would like to go to Greece because it is beautiful and I have always wanted to go.

Employee Spotlight: Michael Bissey

CWCC News, Employee Spotlights

Michael Bissey works as an Information Technology Specialist at CWCC. He has been a part of the team since August 2022, and we are very happy to have him! 

Michael is also a member of Wyoming’s Army National Guard, holding the rank of Sergeant First Class (E7). Michael was present during Governor Gordon’s signing of Executive Order 2023-02, which established the Wyoming Cyber Assistance Response Effort Team.

We asked Machel a few questions to get to know him better, and here are his answers.

  1. What is your favorite part of working at CWCC? 

My favorite part about working there is probably the staff I get to interact with. Everyone has been welcoming and kind.

  1. What do you like most about the work we do here? 

I like that the center is here to help people be their best selves.

  1. What are you most proud of in your career so far? 

I’m most proud of starting my career. It was a tough transition from corrections and field artillery to cyber security and IT.

  1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? 

If I could have any superpower, it would be invincibility because there is too much to do in life and not enough time to do it all.

Employee of the Month – July 2023: Taylor Gates – Residential Supervisor

Employee Spotlights, CWCC News
  1. What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
    I really enjoy the daily opportunity to support, help and learn from clients.
  2. What do you like most about the work you do here?
    My favorite part of my work is getting the chance to know people and being a small part of the
    positive change in their lives.
  3. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
    Recently I had the chance to teach a Mandarin language group to clients and that was a really
    rewarding experience.
  4. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
    I would time travel so that I could be everywhere at once; though now that I think of it,
    that might cause its own problems.
  5. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
    I would travel to the Galapagos Islands; I really want to see more places that feel like
    the end of the earth.

Employee of the Month – July 2023: Breanna Bible – Residential Technician

Employee Spotlights, CWCC News
  1. What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
    My favorite part about working here at CWCC is the team and the clientele that I work wit
  2. What do you like most about the work you do here?
    I enjoy that every day is different. The pace of work can change at any given time, so
    sometimes I am super busy and other times I have just enough time to get everything
  3. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done recently?
    I can’t say that I experience anything extraordinarily interesting while I am at work but I will
    say, I get to meet a very wide range of individuals, which can be very interesting. 🙂
  4. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
    For my aura to be so peaceful that I am a calming presence to anyone I am around.
  5. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
    I would like to go to Galapagos Islands. For starters the scenery there is breathtaking. However, the selling point for me would be their tortoises, one of which lived up to 175 years old! They’re also the worlds largest tortoises growing up to five feet in length and weighing 500 pounds. Who wouldn’t want to see that?

Employee Spotlight: Pat Lichliter, Clinical Therapist

  1. Helping clients get on a good track and seeing them start having successes in their lives through the positive choices they make.
  2. Being part of an agency in our community that can offer hope to those who are hurting or having difficulties in their lives.
  3. Having a good name in our community and getting referrals by work of mouth and having the staying power to have worked at CWCC for 17 years.
  4. To take away the trauma our clients have experienced.

-Pat Lichliter

Employee of the Month, May 2023: Jared Farnum, Peer Specialist

  1. What is your favorite part of working at CWCC?
    I like working as a team and the comradery.
  2. What do you like most about the work we do here?
    I like that we give hope back to the clients we interact with.
  3. What are you most proud of in your career so far?
    I am most proud of achieving my Master Endorsement, and the work I do with my
    clients and the impact it makes on their lives.
  4. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
    If I could choose any superpower, I think I would pick flying. I think I would really enjoy
    how free I would feel and knowing I would have the ability to go almost anywhere.

Employee Spotlight: Grace Filkins, Case Manager

  1. What is your favorite part of working at CWCC? 

My favorite part is how no matter your position youre listenined to and you have the ability to change things. If you feel like theres a better way or if theres something out there that can help the clients that’s yet to be discovered your supervisors and your team will listen to you and work with you. Anything we can do or add to our program to work more efficiently with our clients is something were interested in.  

  1. What do you like most about the work we do here? 

It’s all inclusive. No matter if you are a client in crisis, or just need someone to talk to once a month, if you need a group meeting for substance abuse, or if you need a 90 day program it’s here. Even nurses, an onsite pharmacy and psychiatric providers. It makes my job a lot easier having everyone my clients need under one roof! 

  1. What are you most proud of in your career so far? 

This leads back to my favorite part about the company. For the past few months I’ve been working on a proposal that will hopefully make the company and our case management team even better. I’m extremely excited that it will make us an even better program and give even more services to our clients.  

  1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? 

I know most therapists would say telepathy to make their jobs easier but I would like a 211 superpower! Anything my client needed case management wise I would know who to call immediately depending on their situation. I think that would definitely make me a super Case Manager! 

-Grace Filkins

Employee Spotlight: Trevor Warren, Clinician

  1. What is your favorite part of working at CWCC? 

My favorite part of working at CWCC is the diversity among the clients that I get to serve and my team. CWCC has also done amazing things by supporting my professional development and allowing me fantastic opportunities to expand my knowledge base. 

  1. What do you like most about the work we do here? 

I like that we can provide such a wide array of services at an extremely affordable rate. Our sliding fee scale allows individuals to get services for as low as three dollars an hour, which is unheard of in the therapeutic community. Programs, such as social detox, crisis stabilization, and the independence house are such phenomenal diversion opportunities that help people in severe need, without the use of title 25 care, incarceration, or high costing medical services. The expansive assistance we can offer individuals through peer support, case management, job coaching, and quality-of-life funding, is an incredible, holistic approach to helping people get their lives restructured.

  1. What are you most proud of in your career so far? 

Although I cannot take credit for the success of my clients, as they are the ones that put in the work, I am proud to be a part of so many people’s change processes. I have seen unbelievable changes in the people I work with, who have retaken control of their lives and truly found themselves in the process.

  1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? 

If I had a superpower, it would be the ability to heal people’s emotional and physical pain, through touch. I would put myself out of a job, but it would be worth it. 

-Trevor Warren 

Suicide Crisis Lifeline Helps Lower Suicide Rate in Wyoming

Behavioral Health News, CWCC News

The Wyoming Department of Health recently released data for 2022, which showed that the suicide rate in Wyoming has declined for the first time since 2018.

That’s according to a press release from the WDH, which stated that there was a 22% decline in suicides from 2021. 

In 2019, 2020, and 2021, the suicide rate in Wyoming grew each year, thanks in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic and the isolation that it caused. In 2022, there were 149 suicides. Even one suicide is one too many, but the fact that the number has dropped nearly 25% from the previous year is encouraging. 

Andi Summerville, the Executive Director for the Wyoming Association of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers told Cowboy State Daily that the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline number has helped combat suicide in a drastic way. 

“In those suicide rates, we’re seeing a flattening of the growth curve,” Sommerville stated. “That’s a huge number. It shows the situation is being mitigated. We hope it’s having that impact.” 

Cowboy State Daily reported that Wyoming’s two suicide call centers – the Central Wyoming Counseling Center and Wyoming Lifeline – have fielded more than 10,000 calls since 2020. 

Still, Wyoming legislators, during the last legislative session, have chosen not to provide permanent funding for the centers. 

The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline now operates 24/7 and is available to any and all residents. 

Elsewhere in the WDH release, it was noted that 72% of suicide deaths in Wyoming were from firearms, 22% from hanging, and 4% from poisoning. 

Despite the decline in suicide rates, Wyoming still leads the nation in suicide deaths per capita. 

For this reason and many others, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, and all of the additional services provided by the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, are vital to Wyoming and its residents. 

To learn more about Central Wyoming Counseling Center and the services they offer, visit their website. 

To learn more about Wyoming Lifeline, visit their website or Facebook page.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or is contemplating suicide, you can call 988 or text 307-776-0610.

Who Can I Help Today – CWCC Residential Treatment

Behavioral Health News, CWCC News

The Central Wyoming Counseling Center offers a wide array of services to the people of Natrona County and beyond. From outpatient behavioral help, to group counseling, individual therapy, telehealth services and more, CWCC exists to serve Wyoming however they can. 

One of the major services that CWCC offers is its Substance Abuse Residential Treatment.

Central Wyoming Counseling Center provides Residential Services to clients battling addiction issues and who are looking to reclaim their lives. These Residential Services include wings for men and women. Treatment can consist of therapy groups, parenting classes, and more. 

These services are designed not to provide a way out of addiction, but a way through. 

Heather Spurlin is the Residential Admissions Coordinator for CWCC and she knows just how difficult it can be to try and battle addiction alone. 

“I was addicted to methamphetamine for 20 years,” Spurlin said. “I was sentenced to prison and I did 365 days in their intensive unit treatment program.” 

For decades, Spurlin said her life spiraled out of control. It started quickly, and simply, enough. It was just one hit, just to see what it was like. But one hit turns into two turns into twenty years later and what do you have to show for it? A tired soul and a broken heart. 

That’s how it was for Spurlin. She has two daughters, and her addiction ripped her family apart. 

“I was so lost in my addiction that there was a point in time that the addiction meant more to me than they did,” Spurlin said. “And that’s shameful. That’s shameful for a mother. But when you’re in that addiction…I never thought that I couldn’t take care of them. I never thought that I would get to the point where I wasn’t their mother. I was physically there, but I wasn’t there emotionally. I wasn’t providing all of the things that they needed growing up. Little girls – they need their mom. And I wasn’t that mom. And when I went to prison, I sat with that. I sat with that for 365 days. And it’s ugly. It’s very ugly.” 

Eventually, Spurlin realized that this was a life or death matter. She could either get clean, and stay clean, or she would die. So, she chose life. She chose her life, and she chose her daughters’ lives. She entered a drug court program and she put forth the work – the hard, lonely, angry, tragic work – to get well. 

Most 12-step programs call addiction a disease, and maybe that’s true. But, more accurately, it’s a symptom – a symptom of something much bigger, much darker, much harder to overcome. 

“We go through that trauma, or whatever it is; the empty-needy,” Spurlin said. “We’re born with that and we go through our whole lives trying to fill that void with love, with drugs, with alcohol, or shoplifting, or food, or whatever it is. And when you get to that point, especially if you’ve been through some sort of trauma, the drugs are so comforting and so familiar and just so wonderful and perfect. And they’ll never leave us. They’ll never hurt us. And we get stuck there. And that’s when it does become a disease, and you can’t get out.” 

Spurlin got out. After 20 years, she got out. And she didn’t do it by herself. Because of that, she knows just how vital places like the Central Wyoming Counseling Center really are. 

“It’s extremely important,” she said. “Extremely important. Every single individual that works here comes to work every day with the attitude of ‘Who can I help today? Who am I going to meet on my journey today that needs me to help them?’ That’s the attitude that I have every single day, and I hope and I pray that all of us who are in this field have the same attitude. Who can I help today? Look for those people. Look for those opportunities. Who are you going to send me today?” 

CWCC exists for those who are struggling; for those who are drowning in addiction and are just looking for a lifeline. 

“This is a great place for all types of mental health needs,” Spurlin offered. “We have IOP (Intensive Outpatient), we have our crisis unit, we have our social detox unit. We have our on-call services and our suicide lifeline. If you call and you’re having a crisis moment or you need to talk to somebody, there’s always a therapist. We’re dual-diagnosis, meaning we do mental health and substance abuse.” 

Which is good because, more often than not, the two go hand-in-hand. It goes back to addiction being the symptom. That is why the Central Wyoming Counseling Center doesn’t just tackle the symptom (addiction); it also tackles the source (mental health/trauma). 

When Heather Spurlin decided to get clean, actually clean, for the first time in 20 years, she did it for herself, first and foremost. Everything and everyone else were extra. And now, she stays clean for herself as well. But she also stays clean for her daughters, for her grandchildren, and for her clients. 

“When I came out of my addiction, I promised them that it wasn’t going to happen again,” Spurlin said. “And every addict makes promises, but I just couldn’t do that to them anymore. I could not look those little girls in their eyes and hurt them ever again. And now, I have four grandchildren. And I will never look at them through high eyes. They will never see me in that light. I tell them, ‘Grandma’s a recovering addict, grandma went to prison,’ and that is so foreign to them. They’re going to know my story, but they’ll never know that part of me. And when they ask me, ‘Where do you work grandma?’ and I tell them that I work at CWCC and help people with addictions, they’re so proud of me. And that, to me, is worth every bit of hell that I went through to get here.” 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or with mental health issues and you want help, call the Central Wyoming Counseling Center at 307-237-9583 or visit the CWCC website. 

Answering the Call: The Impact of the CWCC Call Center

Behavioral Health News, CWCC News

Katrina Ferrell joined the Central Wyoming Counseling Center’s Call Center as a Crisis Specialist in August of 2020. Before that, she worked in various other departments in the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, from the front desk and registration, to records requests, and more. When the Call Center opened nearly three years ago, Ferrell jumped at the opportunity to join the team as a Crisis Specialist.

Ferrell knew that working for CWCC would give her the opportunity to help people, which is all she ever wanted to do. What she didn’t know was that she would be part of an active rescue situation, just two days after the call center opened. 

[Names of callers are never revealed – the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is 100% confidential]

“This individual called in and they were very distraught,” Ferrell said. “They were experiencing a personal crisis at the time. They were in their vehicle and they had a loaded pistol in the passenger seat of their car. With every call, we screen for certain criteria to determine whether or not someone is an imminent risk. And this individual certainly felt like they were.” 

Ferrell said that she stayed on the phone with the individual while emergency responders attempted to reach them. 

“An officer would be reporting to the location where this individual was,” Ferrell said. “Because the individual was in a very rural rea, being from Wyoming really helped us out a lot because we were able to isolate landmarks in order to find the person’s location and get emergency services to that individual.” 

This example, the first of many, shows just how important the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline actually is; but it also demonstrates how important it is that the person on the other end of the line is actually from Wyoming. 

Individuals in crisis have been able to call a 1-800 number for years, and the suicide prevention hotline has done a lot of good and saved a lot of lives. But the point of the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is to show callers that, when they call, they are speaking to somebody that actually lives in Wyoming; somebody who knows the towns, who knows the streets, who possibly knows some of the issues that the caller is going through. 

When somebody calls the lifeline, they are calling a 307 number. They are speaking with trained crisis specialists who live and work in Wyoming. 

“When you reach out by telephone for any kind of service, a lot of times you end up with individuals who are in a different part of the country, or even outside of the country,” Ferrell said. “And so, it’s refreshing to know that when you call the lifeline, you’re speaking to somebody that understands your community; that understands the challenges that you may be facing.”

In addition to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, the Central Wyoming Counseling Center has also implemented text-based services for those who are in need but who may not want to actually speak on the phone. 

“Calls and texts are answered by staff who are trained in all of the best practices regarding suicide prevention,” the CWCC website states. “They are certified and accredited through the National Suicide Prevention Network as well. This means when somebody calls or texts, they are getting the absolute best of the best people to talk to.”

In 2022 alone, the Central Wyoming Counseling Center took more than 2,000 calls via the Lifeline. In 2023, it is poised to take even more. 

Ferrell said that while she was surprised, and a little nervous, to conduct an active rescue on just her second day, she said that it’s just proof of how important these services are. She considers it an honor and a privilege to be able to offer help to her neighbors, and she is determined to do everything she can to help the people who call in. That’s what she does now, and it’s what she did back in 2020. 

“Because I was so new, your first reaction is to panic,” Ferrell admitted. “Like, ‘Oh my gosh, what do I do? What do I say?’ ‘Are the things that I bring up going to trigger this person and make things worse?’” 

But then, Ferrell said, she remembered her training, she took a breath, she asked questions and, most importantly, she listened. 

“One of the things that I’ve learned over time is that when you ask direct questions, like ‘Are you experiencing thoughts of suicide today or in the last week,’ people are often relieved,” she stated. “They’re relieved to be able to have those candid conversations about whatever they’re going through.”

She said that oftentimes, people don’t want to reach out to their friends or family members because they’re worried about damaging the relationships that they have. 

“So, to be able to call someone anonymously and just pour your heart out and talk to somebody who is not going to be judgmental and who is not going to have any sort of other agenda other than helping you, it really benefits the caller,” she said. 

Ferrell began working as a Crisis Specialist in August of 2020. Now she is the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Program Coordinator. She oversees the call center and manages the crisis workers. Her team is not a large one; they are small but mighty. And every single day, they give what they can to make sure the residents of Wyoming feel safe, worthy, and loved. Every single day they give their all. Every single day, they pick up the phone. Every single day, they answer the call.

“Please don’t hesitate to call,” Ferrell said. “That’s what we’re here for. Our passion is to assist people who are in crisis. You never have to disclose anything that you’re not comfortable with and you can end the call at any moment. And if you’re not the one in crisis, but you have a friend or family member that might be, give them our number.  We are here 24/7. It doesn’t matter if it’s two in the morning or two in the afternoon. We’re there.” 

And they always will be. 

To learn more about Central Wyoming Counseling Center and the services they offer, visit their website. 

To learn more about Wyoming Lifeline, visit their website or Facebook page.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or is contemplating suicide, call 988 or text 307-776-0610.

Central Wyoming Counseling Center
Partners with Wyoming Lifeline for 24/7 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline




“No Sense of future.” 

“Want to change, but powerless.”

“Feels unconnected.”

These are just some of the reasons that Wyoming residents have called the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

“The CWCC Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Call Center is Wyoming’s first certified National Suicide Prevention Lifeline,” the CWCC website states. “This hotline fields calls from all over Wyoming and, unlike many other 1-800 suicide hotlines, every professional that is called has a 307 number. That may not seem like much, but there’s something to be said about reaching out and knowing that you’re talking to somebody that lives where you live.”

In July of 2022, the Central Wyoming Counseling Center partnered with Wyoming Lifeline to offer Wyoming residents a crisis hotline at all hours of the day. Beginning on March 1, 2023, the two organizations will split the 24-hour timeframe equally, with Wyoming Lifeline crisis counselors operating from 2am-2pm and CWCC crisis counselors operating from 2pm-2am.

The CWCC Suicide and Crisis Lifeline began operations in August 2020. In the more than two years since its inception, the lifeline has offered support, resources, help, and hope to countless Wyomingites. In 2022 alone, CWCC took more than 2,000 calls via the Lifeline and now, in 2023 and beyond, it’s prepared to take even more. 

The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is Wyoming’s first local suicide call center and now, after two years of existence, it is expanding to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

988 is the three-digit, nationwide phone number that callers can dial to speak directly to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Residents can also reach out via text message, by texting 307-776-0610. 

Both the texting services and the 24/7 expansion have provided Wyoming residents even more of an opportunity to reach out when they need help. 

According to the CWCC website, “Calls and texts are answered by staff who are trained in all of the best practices regarding suicide prevention. They are certified and accredited through the National Suicide Prevention network as well. This means when somebody calls or texts, they are getting the absolute best of the best people to talk to.”

Staff at the CWCC call center and Wyoming Lifeline have been trained in various aspects of mental health and crisis situations. This includes suicide prevention, crisis intervention, domestic violence, human trafficking, veteran mental health, youth mental health, and more. Both phone calls and text messages are kept anonymous, to ensure absolute privacy. 

Now, with the expansion to 24/7, these trained technicians are able to talk people through difficult times and they’re able to put them in contact with services that could, quite literally, save their lives. 

To learn more about Central Wyoming Counseling Center and the services they offer, visit their website. 

To learn more about Wyoming Lifeline, visit their website or Facebook page.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or is contemplating suicide, you can call 988 or text 307-776-0610.

Article by Nick Perkins at K2 Radio  |  Published: February 22, 2023

Help at the Tips of Your Fingers: CWCC Implements Telehealth Services


The Central Wyoming Counseling Center offers a variety of services to Wyoming residents, including Outpatient Behavioral Health, Intensive Outpatient Treatment, Addiction Treatment, and more.

One of CWCC’s newest innovations is that of their Telehealth Services.

CWCC offers treatment and support services via a secure virtual environment. Their telehealth counseling option allows clients to receive or continue group-based and/or individual treatment without the need for an in-person visit.

“It’s new to us,” said Deb Phinney, the Director of Telehealth Services with CWCC. “In the last few months, we’ve been doing telehealth video-to-video through a secured platform. I have one therapist who is doing about three days a week of telehealth conferences. And what it’s doing is, it’s allowing us to have a little more flexibility in our hours, in our availability. We’re not going to be limited to the 8am-5pm brick and mortar timeframe.”

The telehealth program is convenient, for both clients and for therapists.

“Scheduling is a little bit easier with Telehealth, because the therapist actually does their own scheduling,” Phinney said. “So, it’s just more convenient and, at times, it can be more comfortable for the client. It’s easier access, because the client does not have to leave home or they can find a secure place at work or somewhere else where they have privacy. Plus, it eliminates the travel time.”

Phinney said CWCC started planning for this service during the summer, even going so far as to create a therapist position that would focus strictly on telehealth therapy. This is one of CWCC’s newest additions, and Phinney hopes that it will remain a fixture of CWCC’s services for the foreseeable future.

“I would like to have the access for our clients be much easier, so that they can get the services they need,” she stated. “The flexibility of having telehealth, in-person meetings, and a combination of both are very important. I think that in-person, face-to-face [communication] is still very important in the therapeutic process but there are barriers for people.”

Those barriers depend on the client, and on the day. Living in Wyoming, weather is constantly an issue to consider. So, too, still, is the issue of COVID-19. Both of these factors and a myriad of others can make it hard for a client to participate in in-person meetings, so the telehealth service exists to ensure that clients still get the help they need, when they need it.

CWCC would also like to utilize telehealth services for group therapy.

“I would really like to see a healthy hybrid mix of both the traditional, face-to-face, in-person therapy and telehealth access,” Phinney said. “I would also like to see some of our groups on a telehealth platform. I’d like our groups to have the same access. It’s much easier for someone to come to a group wherever they’re at, as long as there’s privacy. Rather than having to leave, get in their car, come up here for a group, and then go home. In terms of travel time, for some people, it’s pretty significant. Casper’s not big, but it still takes you 20 minutes to get from one side of town to the other. So, you’re cutting the client’s time down by eliminating that travel.”

Part of the introduction of these telehealth services is to further combat the stigma surrounding mental health and, more importantly, “asking for help.” For some people, it’s hard to ask for help from somebody face-to-face; to admit to somebody, in person, that you’re struggling.

This is especially true if you’re a young person.

Central Wyoming Counseling Center realizes this, and is working with the Natrona County School District, as well as a multitude of other community partners, to combat the stigma of mental health and to let people know, regardless of their age or position in life, that it’s okay to not be okay.

“We’re very heavily-based in school programs,” Phinney said. “With the different grants that we have that are all telehealth, we’re partnering with the school districts to do some activities that bring awareness to mental health and decrease the stigma. We’re in the process of putting together an alumni chapter for substance use; for anyone that has completed substance use treatment. It’s not just a focus on substance abuse; it’s also about mental health. We have dual diagnosis groups up and running again.”

That’s not all they’re doing, however. And the school district isn’t the only community partner they’re working with who will be utilizing telehealth services.

“We’re partnering with the Iris Clubhouse as well,” Phinney offered. “We’re involved in the community and leading the community movement to link different entities and facilities to offer more wraparound access for people. We’re working with the jails now, specifically for mental health, so that we can help those people who are incarcerated. I see us building access with some of these avenues that didn’t have access before we began using telehealth.”

Phinney stated that this is still a new program, and there are still some kinks to work out. Some people, for example, don’t have access to the technology needed for telehealth services. For now, however, clients can even come to CWCC and use their computers to participate in telehealth. CWCC is working on other solutions as well.

Asking for help is hard, sometimes. Some people are overcome with anxiety when surrounded by new people. These telehealth services are designed to help quell that anxiety; to give people an opportunity to reach out for help without even having to leave their homes.

“Help is at their fingertips,” Phinney said. “We have everything set up, including our intake paperwork, which can actually be emailed. We have a DocuSign capability, where clients can fill everything out and email it back to us. Really, from the start, it can all be done online. So, help really is at the tips of their fingers.”

CWCC Residential Services


Central Wyoming Counseling Center provides Residential Services to clients battling addiction issues and who are looking to reclaim their lives. These Residential Services include wings for men and women. The Menʼs Unit has 35 beds and the Womenʼs Unit has 29.

CWCC also offers special services to Residential clients, including:

  • Mother and Child (newborn to 8 yrs) Beds
  • Schooling/Daycare for the Children of Clients
  • Case Management Services
  • Parenting Skill Training
  • Psychiatric Services
  • And More

CWCC provides individual counseling and group counseling, teaching clients about the addiction process and how to deal with their mental health in a more productive manner. The therapists at CWCC work to deconstruct the symptom to find the root cause. CWCC also provides groups on cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as training specifically designed for parents. CWCC utilizes various therapists for both men and women. These individuals are specifically trained to help clients work through addiction issues and find healthy coping mechanisms.

CWCC consists of multiple levels of care: 1.0, 2.1, and 3.5. Our Residential Program is an ASAM Level 3.5. Clients will undergo an ASI (Addiction Severity Index) Evaluation to determine the level of care needed to address their issues. If clients reach a 3.5 level on the ASI, that is when Residential Treatment is offered. Residential Treatment typically lasts between 90 to 120 days, but it is progress-based. Clients will complete three different phases while in treatment, completing a variety of different assignments, such as writing an autobiography, addressing ʻThinking Errors,ʼ and speaking to the group about the ways their addiction has affected their lives and the lives of people around them.

Dan Farrer, the Director of Residential Services says that he believes the most important part of the CWCC Residential Services is its staff.

“Having staff that really care about the clients and want to help them make good changes, and helping them stay accountable is pivotal,” Farrer said. “CWCC has that. Our therapists are well-trained in being able to handle clients that struggle, and our therapists have good training when it comes to leading groups and being able to help clients work through their struggles and the different traumas that theyʼve experienced in the past. I think, ultimately, when you have a good set of therapists, a good set of techs, and good nurses…when we, as the staff, function well and weʼre well trained to help people grow, and to help people find that change…thatʼs what matters. Thatʼs the important part.”

Choosing to undergo treatment is not an admission of weakness. Asking for help is not a weakness. Itʼs a strength. Itʼs easy to ignore problems; to bury them in the bottom of a bottle and pretend that they donʼt exist. Itʼs east to ignore emotions. And the more you try to pretend like your problems arenʼt there, the more you feed your addiction. So when clients choose to come to treatment, when they choose to get help from the people who want to help you, itʼs a sign of courage; a sign of strength.

To learn more about Central Wyoming Counseling Center and all of the services they offer, visit

If you or someone you know is in crisis or is contemplating suicide, you can call 1-800-273-TALK or text 307-776-0610.

Musical Artist Skyler Ray Performs for CWCC Clients


“Look at me. Maybe I’m weak. Sometimes I hurt so bad, I can’t speak. Maybe I’m selfish, or I don’t know what help is. All I know is that I have never felt like this; this is me at my lowest. Okay, maybe that’s a lie, cause for as long as I can remember, I wanted to die. Like, how do I get help? I’m a man who struggles with mental health. I’m so deep in addiction, that the thought of death is uplifting.”
– Skylar Ray

If walls could talk, treatment and counseling centers would have stories that would break your heart. But they would also have stories of redemption – stories like that of Skyler Ray. Which is perhaps why Ray and his partner Kala Mulcahy travel around the country to different treatment and counseling centers, sharing their music with the residents there. 

But their music is more than just melodies and memories; it’s a way to tell their story. 

And what a story it is. 

Ray has lived hard. He grew up fast.

“I started young, drinking and smoking,” he stated. “And then around 18, I found myself homeless and, next thing you know, I was on meth. I went from smoking it to shooting it and I found myself sleeping in downtown Portland on the sidewalks, in the doorways.”

Inevitably, Ray said, he’d end up in jail. 

“I’d go do six months, get out for three days, do another nine months, get out for six days, then do another six months. I just couldn’t break the cycle. I found myself using it and selling it, just to support my addiction. And I finally found myself incarcerated for about five years.” 

And that could have been the end of his story. For many of his contemporaries, that would be the end. The addiction is too strong, the trauma is too deep, and there’s nothing to do but attempt to find peace at the bottom of a bottle or the tip of a needle. 

Skyler Ray was close, so close, to being a casualty of addiction; just another statistic. But something funny happened in that 8×10 jail cell. 

He found music and, in doing so, he also rediscovered himself.

“Every time I would be incarcerated before, I would always think, ‘When I get out, I’m gonna bet back to music,’” he said. “But every time I got out, I went back to the streets.  With that being said, this last time I was sitting in prison, I was sitting there and I was having the same conversation I found myself having 20 times prior. And I remember looking around and there was nobody there, I was talking to myself, and I was thinking ‘Why do I keep lying to myself? Who am I trying to impress?’ So I told myself that, when I got out, I was really gonna do it this time. And that was my moment of clarity.”

A moment of clarity is something that many addicts will eventually come across. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s that moment where you’re faced with a choice: do I keep going down the road I’m on, or do I turn left? Do I try to get off it? Do I take my life back? Can I take my life back? 

Ray did. And, in doing so, he chose to help others take back their lives as well. 

Ray left prison for the final time on November 30, 2018. And he hasn’t looked back. 

In the years since, he has focused primarily on his music, channeling his addiction and his trauma and his struggles and using them to tell powerful stories that, unfortunately, many people are able to relate to. 

“I came up with a gameplan,” he said. “I realized that I had to learn about myself in prison. I had to learn to love myself. That way, I’m really doing it for me, so I could keep an integrity about it. So what I do behind closed doors; the results will come to light. And so I took that time to build and I came out with an action plan. I lined my walls up with poster boards; from dream goals to long term goals to short term goals. 

And I really stuck with it. I didn’t cut corners.”

The results did come to light, they speak for themselves. Ray focused on his music, on his stories, and on bringing them to others. He has slowly but surely built a name for himself on the music scene, which is what led him to the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, as part of a nationwide tour that he and his partner have embarked on. 

And they wouldn’t have even heard of the little town of Casper, Wyoming if it weren’t for Jenny Hunter. 

Hunter and her husband lost their son, J.R., to suicide a number of years ago. Since then, Hunter has dedicated herself to suicide and mental health awareness campaigns, creating yearly events like ‘J.R.’s Hunt for Life,’ and even starting a podcast called ‘Safe Talk.’ 

It was on ‘Safe Talk’ that Hunter first spoke with Ray and Mulcahy, and that’s where the idea was born for them to come perform in Casper. 

“We have J.R.’s Hunt for Life and we have a support page that’s global,” Hunter said. “And we have several admins on the support page around the United States, and one of the admins in Texas, her name is Starr, found out about Skyler and she contacted him and told Skyler and Kala about J.R.’s personal story. And then they wrote a song regarding him and suicide and they posted it for me and it was very touching. It touched me because I know that addiction and alcoholism and things like that are precursors to suicide at times. And from there we just began a friendship.”

Hunter had both Ray and Mulcahy on her podcast and all three shared their stories with each other and with their listeners, and Ray explained that he and Mulcahy were in the middle of a tour. 

“They told me they were doing this recovery tour and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I would love to get you out here and talk to our people because with the stats in Wyoming, the suicide rate and that kind of stuff, I think you could be such an inspiration.’”

So, Jenny contacted Kevin Hazucha, the CEO of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, and they put together a plan to bring the music duo to Casper. 

On July 5, 2022 Skyler Ray and Kala Mulcahy performed two sets for the residents of CWCC; one for the men and one for the women. 

“It went really well,” Ray said. “We went and performed for the males first, and then we did the ladies. And it was really cool. We made a nice connection. The guys showed a lot of love and it was really cute because on the way out, they clapped us out. They were really excited and that was really nice. A lot of people came up and they said they related to a lot of it. And I think it was, especially given the situation and what CWCC is and what the residents are going through to have to be there, it was really special.”

All of Ray’s songs are from the heart. They’re all stories that come from his life, and Mulcahy’s life. It’s tough stuff. It isn’t pretty. It isn’t wrapped up neatly with a bow. There’s a lot of trauma work in their music; a lot of vulnerability. And that’s exactly what the residents of CWCC needed. They needed to see that there was life beyond those walls; that they weren’t at the end of their story, they were at the beginning. 

“I try to let them know that if you slip up or you make a mistake or you stumble, like, get the help you need,” Ray said. “It’s okay to mess up. Don’t let that shame and that guilt hold you back from getting the help you need because you’re afraid of appearing weak. That’s what’s gonna kill us; that’s what’s gonna take us out.” 

That’s one of the big messages that Ray tries to impart on his audiences during his shows, and it’s an idea that is shared by the Central Wyoming Counseling Center; asking for help does not make you weak. In fact, it’s one of the strongest, most courageous things you could possibly do. 

That’s something that Ray had to do and, in doing so, he realized how strong he actually was. And that’s the message that he wants to promote to others, which is why he and Mulcahy choose to play at treatment centers instead of the typical bar and coffeeshop scene. 

“We played some bars, and that was cool, but we just thought we could make a bigger impact this way,” Ray said. “Like, if you know who you’re speaking to, then you know how to find them. So we thought it would make more sense because this is our journey and this is what we’re trying to say, so we should find the people that really want to hear it.” 

The residents at CWCC wanted to hear it; maybe not all of them, but definitely some of them. Because here’s the thing about addiction; it’s not a disease, it’s a symptom. It’s a symptom of something much deeper, much darker, much more insidious. It comes from trauma, from trying to bury something and keep it pushed way deep down, so that you don’t have to feel it. Most addicts turn to alcohol or drugs because they’re trying to avoid having to feel. Sometimes, the pain is too real, the voices are too loud, the reality is too harsh. So, we escape. But turns out, that escape route is actually a dead end in disguise. 

That’s something Skylar Ray eventually figured out. He finally got tired of trying to escape and he realized that the only way to get over his trauma was to go through it. So, he did. He traded in that bottle or that needle for a pencil, and he got to work. In doing so, he and his partner have produced a collection of songs that speak right to the heart and soul of those who are struggling. 

Skylar Ray and Kala Mulcahy brought a bit of light to the residents of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center. They showed them that they weren’t alone, that there was hope beyond those walls, and that they were worthy of love. It took Skyler a long time to figure that out for himself but, once he did, he knew that he’d spend the rest of his life helping others find their own worth. 

More Than a Number: Casper College and Central Wyoming Counseling Center Partner for Human Trafficking Presentation


It’s been reported that an estimated 40 million people worldwide are victims of trafficking and exploitation. 

20% of those victims are children. 

For these reasons, and many more, it’s important to spread awareness about the issue of human trafficking. That’s exactly why Casper College and the Central Wyoming Counseling Center partnered together to offer a presentation on the subject at the Casper College Wellness Conference, which took place April 28-29, 2022.  

On Thursday, April 28 Rhonda Covington, a CWCC Therapist and a certified trainer with Love146 offered a presentation on Human Trafficking at the Gateway Building on the Casper College Campus. 

Love146 is an organization dedicated to ending child trafficking and exploitation, and it offers various training courses for people who are interested in raising awareness. 

Covington is one of those people.

“The course is designed by an organization called ‘Not a Number,’” Covington stated. “Love146 is their top-level organizational name, and the ‘Not a Number’ aspect ties into the human trafficking piece because their philosophy is that individuals are more than just a number.” 

But when it comes to things like human trafficking, using statistics is the fastest, and easiest, way to get a point across. Phrases like ‘An estimated 40 million’ or ‘20%,’ details just how many people are impacted by human trafficking. What we sometimes forget are the names, the people, the lives that make up those numbers. 

“When we think of human trafficking, we get that picture in our head of this unmarked white van where a guy will reach out and snag kids off the street or whatever,” Covington stated.

“But human trafficking is so much more.”

There’s the labor trafficking aspect of it, as well as the commercial sex standpoint; and just how the vulnerabilities that everybody has makes us susceptible to one or both of these, or even just exploitation in general.” 

So, what are some of those vulnerabilities? 

“Adolescence is a huge vulnerability,” Covington revealed. “If a kid comes from the system or has a history of abuse or neglect, or low self-esteem or loneliness, that’s a vulnerability. You also get a lot of kids today who are questioning their sexuality, and that makes them a very big target. So does homelessness, addiction, bullying, gang activity; even just being part of any marginalized population.” 

Covington said there are many different warning signs that somebody is either being trafficked or is susceptible to being trafficked. These signs can present themselves in a number of ways, from sudden shifts in mood, to being secretive about who they’re speaking to, to isolation, receiving unexpected gifts, and more. 

“Somebody’s there just building them up and feeding them all sorts of things so that they can sink their hooks in,” Covington said. 

Typically, she offered, the age range of those who are more prone to being trafficked is adolescence to early adulthood. 

“That’s just one of those vulnerabilities that makes that particular age group a target,” Covington stated. “Because they’re just wanting to fit in; they’re wanting to find their niche in the world. And so they’re willing to just do whatever. They act a lot on those empty promises because they don’t know any better.” 

Covington said that it’s even easier these days for young people to be swept up in the world of human trafficking, because social media has provided easy ways for strangers to communicate with children. Social media apps like Snapchat, TikTok, and more connect adolescents with a world far beyond their bedroom, their home, even their city or state. 

“The point to make is that it’s very unusual in this day and age to find the old-fashioned family structure, where the dad was the breadwinner and the mom stayed home,” Covington said. “That’s not common anymore. Most typically, both parents work. And so the kids spend a fair amount of time by themselves. And what do they do when they’re by themselves? They’re online.” 

All of those reasons are why the Central Wyoming Counseling Center partnered with Casper College to put this presentation on. It was designed to open up the conversation about a topic that seems like it could never happen. But it does. Far too often. Even in Wyoming. 

Covington said that she thinks “this subject is really important to our community because a lot of times, even I had the misconception that, ‘Hey, this is Wyoming. This kind of stuff doesn’t happen here. This is something that happens in the bigger cities, like Denver and Chicago; those types of places.’ “

“When you really start boiling it down and seeing exactly what human trafficking is and what it entails, Wyoming is extremely vulnerable.” 

And why is that? Why is Wyoming more susceptible to human trafficking, maybe even more so than bigger cities? 

And sometimes, they will jump without looking at where they could possibly land.“I think because we are a rural community, a lot of kids jump at the opportunity to get out of here and go see the world,” Covington said. And sometimes, they will jump without looking at where they could possibly land.

Human trafficking can, and has, happened in Wyoming and it’s important to know what we’re actually supposed to be looking for when it comes to this subject. That’s what the CWCC presentation at Casper College focused on. 

“We talked about exactly what human trafficking is, and broke it down,” Covington offered. “We learned about the differences between labor trafficking and commercial sex trafficking. We looked at defining the terms, keying in on the ideas of force fraud and coercion. We looked at what it means to consent. What does grooming mean? What is child labor exploitation and how does that tie into our child labor laws? We also discussed resources that we have. How do we get our youth help? How do we recognize the signs that we’re supposed to be looking for? We also focused on safety planning. What do we do with it? Where do we go with it?”

It’s an important subject and it’s a conversation that was long overdue. This was a chance for Wyomingites to be a part of the discussion, to learn about human trafficking and to help prevent human beings from becoming mere numbers.  

If you didn’t have the chance to attend the conference, or if you did and are just seeking more information about the various services that the Central Wyoming Counseling Center offers (such as addiction services, inpatient and outpatient therapy, crisis resources, and more), visit their website or call  307-237-9583. 

Lives on the line: Working Wyo’s first statewide suicide prevention hotline

As pandemic-related mental health issues proliferate, advocates say the hotline provides an important safety net.

CASPER — As office workers across the city prepare to head home, the telephone operators at the Suicide Prevention Lifeline in Casper are just settling into their shifts — checking systems to ensure calls aren’t dropped, brushing up on training materials and reviewing calls from the past week. 

Housed in the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, a sprawling complex with soft light, artfully arranged houseplants and high-resolution nature photographs, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is one of two statewide lifelines in Wyoming. The center is staffed by just four phone operators and Director Bernice Hazucha. 

The lifeline operates between 4 p.m. and midnight because those are “peak call hours,” according to Andi Summerville, executive director of the Wyoming Association of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers. The state’s other lifeline,  which is based in Greybull, operates from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. “Right now, the two centers make sure that they’re not open at the same time so they can cover more hours,” Summerville said. “But even between those two centers, right now we don’t have 24/7 coverage.”

The services opened in August 2020, just as the pandemic exacerbated mental health problems for Wyoming residents from nurses, to educators to kids. The center’s first ever call came in at 4:01 p.m. on opening day and required an “active rescue,” meaning law enforcement had to be called because the caller’s life was at risk, Hazucha recalls. Her inaugural staff member wanted to leave because of the call’s intensity, she said, but she told the staffer: “No, we’ve got more to do.”

In March, the CWCC lifeline received 14 calls from adolescents. In April the call volume from kids more than doubled.

Advocates say the two state lifelines are crucial tools for addressing growing mental health needs in a state where health care resources are already stretched thin and safety nets are frayed. 

A labor of love

Hazucha thought she was headed toward retirement when her husband, Kevin Hazucha, agreed to take a job in Casper as CEO of Central Wyoming Counseling Center. The New York couple packed up and headed West in 2018. 

Back in New York’s Hudson Valley, Hazucha spent two decades working suicide hotlines and was suprised to learn her new home state, which consistently has one of the highest suicide rates per capita, did not have a statewide hotline. 

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One of the center’s newest hires studies training materials on May 11, 2022 while waiting for calls to come in. (Sofia Jeremias/WyoFile)

Hazucha applied her frenetic work ethic to changing that. 

She and Kevin met with Gov. Mark Gordon and other lawmakers in January of 2019 and soon after secured funding to open the state’s first suicide prevention hotline center by summer 2020. 

Two years on, Hazucha starts each work day around 8 a.m. from home answering emails and checking in with the night’s previous callers. Then she heads into the CWCC office to monitor and help out at the call center. She debriefs after active rescue calls that require law enforcement intervention, provides hotline workers tomes of training materials and listens in to make sure operators aren’t struggling with a call, jumping in if they are. 

“There’s a very short time period you have to make that connection,” Kevin Hazucha said. “And if you blow it, if you don’t do that and somebody hangs up, you’ve lost a real opportunity to save a life and to make a difference.” 

Bernice Hazucha is acutely aware of those stakes and makes sure her staff is too. “Your listening skills become very sharp,” she said. 

In the two decades Hazucha’s operated suicide hotlines, she’s lost two people, she said. The circumstances of those days are seared in her memory, and years later she vividly recalls the sudden silence engulfing the line after rushed pleas to tell family members that they were loved. 

Most days, she goes home when the center closes at 12 a.m.

Local voices make a difference

Wyoming residents can call the national suicide prevention lifeline, but advocates of state-based services say reaching an operator who lives in the state, and understands the nuances of life in Wyoming  — from winter conditions that make visiting a counselor in person impossible to struggling with feeling like an outsider in a small, isolated town — makes all the difference. 

“Somebody from Tallahassee, Florida that picks up isn’t going to understand the culture here,” Kevin Hazucha said. “They won’t understand what some of the barriers are.”

“It’s really great to have somebody to talk to,” Summerville said. “Sometimes that’s all it takes. But when there’s a higher need and services are needed, it’s really important that we have a call center in the state that knows where those resources are.” 

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Between 4 p.m. and midnight the Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s four operators take calls from 307 area code phone numbers. (Sofia Jeremias/WyoFile)

Because the lifeline in Casper is housed within CWCC, operators offer access to counselors or in-patient treatment at the center when needed, or connect callers with the other mental-health and substance-abuse treatment centers in the state. 

Ralph Nieder-Westermann, services director of Wyoming LifeLine, the state’s other call center, remembers one caller who told him, “‘But you don’t understand what it’s like, because you don’t live in a small town.’”

Nieder-Westermann told the caller he lived in Greybull, where only a couple thousand people reside. 

“I could sense her sigh of relief,” Nieder-Westermann recalled. “‘She said, ‘I didn’t know that I was going to get somebody local.’”

Expansion potential 

The hotline is open seven days a week, and the Hazuchas hope the American Rescue Act Plan dollars allocated during the 2022 legislative session will provide funding to operate 24 hours a day, rather than eight. The state has not yet made a formal request for proposals, Summerville said, but CWCC’s center is planning to apply once it does. 

With state funds, CWCC could hire more staff and expand hours. In July, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number will also transition to 988, which providers expect will eventually increase call volume. New geolocation technology will also accompany the 988 rollout, allowing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to route calls based on actual location rather than just area code.

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The Suicide Prevention Lifeline in Casper has four full-time telephone operators. Bernice Hazucha keeps an eye on the center on May 11, 2022, prepared to jump in if staff need help with a caller. (Sofia Jeremias/WyoFile)

In the meantime, the center will continue working with the resources it has managed to secure.

Hazucha’s eyes water and her voice cracks when she talks about spearheading the state’s first suicide prevention hotline, the ways she hopes to grow the center and perhaps even one day build up a team that would operate without her. 

“Talking about suicide, it’s not a fun thing, but it’s there,” she said. “That is where my passion arises because that’s where I grew. That’s what I love to do and the most rewarding thing is when you save that life.”

If you or someone you know needs to talk, you can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “WYO” to 741-741.

by Sofia Jeremias, WyoFile, May 17, 2022

Central Wyoming Counseling Center Partners with Wyoming School Districts to Provide Mental Health Services to Students


Central Wyoming Counseling Center is partnering with numerous school districts in Wyoming to provide a variety of mental health services to students. 

CWCC has partnered with the Natrona County School District for a number of years, providing various counseling services to students, and they have just begun working with schools in Uinta County, Park County, and Bighorn County. 

In Uinta County, school districts have partnered with Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) to be able to utilize CWCC services. Project AWARE is a grant that was awarded by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to be able to “build or expand the capacity of State Educational Agencies, in partnership with State Mental Health Agencies overseeing school-aged youth and local education agencies.

Kevin Hazucha, the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, said that he was approached by the Wyoming Department of Education, who asked if they were interested in providing these services to various school districts throughout Wyoming. 

Now, more than ever, students having access to mental health services is pivotal. The Wyoming Injury & Violence Prevention Program reported that in 2016, “Among Wyoming students 6th-12th grade, 20% reported that they had seriously considered attempting suicide, and 10% reported they actually attempted suicide in the past 12 months.” In that same report, it was written that “Hospitalization rates related to self-harm are highest among youth and young adults, aged 15-19 years.”

Student at counseling

“It’s really critical,” Hazucha stated. “We know, anecdotally, the number of calls we get in our suicide lifeline here from adolescents, from teenagers. We know that the suicide rate across the state is ridiculously high. We know what the issues are for teens and adolescents, and how difficult it is. So, I think it’s really important that we offer as much help to these school districts as we can.” 

Kimberly Cossin, the Outpatient Mental Health Coordinator for the Central Wyoming Counseling Center agrees.

“We hear quite consistently that kids are falling through the cracks, just because those resources aren’t there,” Cossin stated. “Their parents are working two jobs, there’s six other siblings, they can’t afford that $20 bucks to go see a counselor. This program offers the ability for parents to be involved, but not financially liable, so they don’t have that extra burden.” 

This partnership between CWCC and the school districts will benefit the parents financially, in that they won’t have to pay for counseling out of pocket for their children, but it will also benefit them in terms of travel, time constraints, and more. 

“Our services pretty much look like outpatient counseling, but we fill in the gaps for transportation and for finances by doing it in the school buildings themselves,” Cossin stated. “Right now, we have a partnership with the Natrona County School District counselors, in which, if there’s someone that needs more intensive help and parents don’t have insurance, the school district has a budget specifically pertaining to these services. We can bill insurance, but anything in terms of co-pay or a deductible comes from the school district.” 

CWCC has 8 counselors that they will be sending to work in the schools, and they will partner with the schools’ own counselors to provide the best type of services to students. Uinta, Park, and Big Horn Counties will utilize 3 counselors, and Natrona County will use 5. Cossin emphasized that these services don’t just involve a student meeting with a counselor once a week, either. 

“It’s not just the counseling piece,” she stated. “It’s also case management. We have case managers that we’re looking at implementing in homes and in the community. It could just be helping them navigate an MDT meeting, or offering resources that parents wouldn’t otherwise know about. It’s partnering with Mercer House, or maybe the kiddo just needs help with a 504 because the anxiety is just too bad. It’s a lot of different things.” 

What’s important to note is that counseling sessions in Uinta, Park, and Big Horn Counties, at least for the time being, are provided via tele-health. Because the schools in these counties are somewhat isolated, CWCC wants to make sure that students can still receive help, regardless of weather conditions or any other unforeseen circumstance. 

“The goal of this is to offer help to students,” Hazucha said. “And the byproduct of that would be having more people talking about suicide, more people talking about behavioral health issues, more people accepting help, and ultimately reducing the stigma of needing help or getting help. I hope this opens discussions about the struggles that people are having, and that it would translate into a healthier community, healthier kids, and healthier families.” 

School counselor

Cossin stated that the stigma surrounding mental health is still one of the biggest challenges CWCC faces, especially when working with adolescents. 

“I think, especially for the kids, removing that stigma and allowing them to be able to speak to their parents without feeling like it’s attention seeking is pivotal,” she stated. “That’s the biggest thing that I hear in the school districts; ‘is this attention seeking or is it not?’ This whole thing is more about teaching teens how to step into a relationship with mental health, and not being afraid of talking about it.” 

Mental Health is not a dirty word. It doesn’t need to be a stigma anymore. This is especially true given the current climate of the world. Isolation is at an all-time high due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more teenagers are escaping into themselves and shutting out the world around them. Additionally, sexual orientation and gender identity are playing critical roles in the mental health of young people. According to The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS), “In 2015, Wyoming High School students who self-identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual were significantly more likely to report they had seriously considered attempting suicide (54%) or had attempted suicide (37%) in the past twelve months compared to students who identified as heterosexual (16% and 11% respectively).”

For these reasons and so many more, being able to offer mental health services to students in Wyoming is vital to both the school districts and CWC. There’s no shame in asking for help and now, through this partnership, it’s easier than ever for students to find sanctuary in the halls of their schools. 

To learn more about Central Wyoming Counseling Center and all of the services they offer, visit 

If you or someone you know is in crisis or is contemplating suicide, you can call 1-800-273-TALK  or text 307-776-0610.

Central Wyoming Counseling Center adds texting services to suicide lifeline


Living in Wyoming, there’s a certain idea around ‘these here parts,’ that crying or other forms of showing emotion somehow isn’t ‘tough’ or ‘manly.’ Many a ‘tough guy’ will tell each other to pull themselves up by the boot straps and ‘cowboy up.’ What these people don’t realize, or what they refuse to admit, is that crying, showing vulnerability or asking for help actually takes more strength than one can possibly imagine. Sometimes, it takes all of the strength a person has. And the fact of the matter is that a lot of us need help more than we’re willing to admit.

For these people, there is the Central Wyoming Counseling Center.

As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to an end, CWCC has announced the addition of texting services to its free suicide lifeline.

The CWCC Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call Center is Wyoming’s first certified National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This hotline fields calls from all over Wyoming and, unlike many other 1-800 suicide hotlines, every professional that is called has a 307 number. That may not seem like much, but there’s something to be said about reaching out and knowing that you’re talking to somebody that lives where you live.

The lifeline number is a very real example of Wyoming neighbors taking care of each other. And, now, the addition of texting makes it even easier, at least logistically, to reach out for help.

“We got an anonymous gift and we wanted to put that very generous donation towards something that would be appealing and attractive to the community,” said Bernice Hazucha, the Director of the CWCC Suicide Call Center. “For some people, picking up the phone and actually speaking to people adds more anxiety, so having the ability to text will, hopefully, make it easier for people to reach out.”

Calls and texts are answered by staff who are trained in all of the best practices regarding suicide prevention. They are certified and accredited through the National Suicide Prevention network as well. This means when somebody calls or texts, they are getting the absolute best of the best people to talk to.

And, in many cases, that is what people actually need; just somebody to talk to. Or, more importantly, somebody to listen.

“There is sort of a frontier mentality in Wyoming,” said Kevin Hazucha, CEO of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center. “People, just by virtue of the geography and how far away from everyone we are, there’s almost an instinct to go it on your own and to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and manage things yourself. There’s already a stigma everyone in the country in terms of dealing with behavioral health issues and seeking help. And the frontier mentality, being more isolated and being more inclined to want to deal with things on your own really exacerbates the reluctance to seek help and to get the help you need.”

For many people, the hardest part about asking for help is allowing themselves to be vulnerable and actually admitting that they need help. The stigma surrounding mental and behavioral health, especially in terms of suicide, is less of an issue than in previous years, but it’s still a ‘hush-hush’ type of thing for many people. The Central Wyoming Counseling Center aims to change that.

“Asking for help is not an easy thing to do,” Hazucha stated. “It’s tough for some people to pick up that phone, make the call, and say ‘I need help.’ It’s not easy and that’s why we’ve adopted this new motto, that ‘asking for help is the new cowboy tough.’ Our goal, once somebody does make that call or sends that text is to be there for them and to do everything we possibly can to help that person.”

The staff at the call center have been trained and are certified in a number of areas, including suicide prevention, crisis intervention, domestic violence, human trafficking, veteran mental health, youth mental health and more. Calls or texts are anonymous, because privacy is of the utmost importance. 

Also of importance is the fact that utilizing these services is not something to be afraid or ashamed of. It’s not admitting defeat and it is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it may be the bravest, strongest, most important thing a person can do. In a state that prides itself on being ‘Cowboy Tough,’ reaching your hand out and allowing somebody to take hold requires more strength, more courage, more toughness than Samson had when he tore down the pillars of the Coliseum.

Central Wyoming Counseling Center is a pillar of Natrona County, but it doesn’t take strength from others; CWCC offers it.

“Asking for help takes courage,” Hazucha said. “And our lifeline isn’t just for people who are in a crisis. We’re there for anyone that is struggling, on any given day, if they just need somebody to talk to.”

The number to text if you need somebody to talk to is 307-776-0610. The landline lifeline number is 1-800-273-TALK. For more information, you can also visit the Central Wyoming Counseling Center website.

Read More: CWCC Adds Texting Services to Suicide |

Wyomingites can now text the suicide hotline


A crisis specialist waits for a call(Bobbee Russell)

By Bobbee Russell

CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) – Now Wyomingites have the option to text the statewide suicide hotline if they are in a crisis or just need some extra support. People can text (307) 776-0610 or call the national hotline at 1-800-TALK.

In 2019, Wyoming had the second-highest suicide rates per capita. Kevin Hazucha, the CEO of Central Wyoming Counseling Center, said those high rates plus the added stigma don’t help.

“There’s a frontier mentality here and just by the virtue of the geographical space we live in people here feel like they have to do it alone. There’s too much distance between places here and limited services here,” Hazucha said.

People answering these calls and texts are crisis intervention specialists. They are trained in LGBT+ issues and much more. “They have training in human trafficking, Youth self-harm and Veteran difficulties,” said Bernice Hazucha, Suicide prevention call center director.

An anonymous donor gave them the funds to have this texting feature. Another one of their goals is to provide people who call with resources so they can get help if they need it.

“We are connected with WAMHSAC which are our sister partner agencies that anybody that calls here we can refer them to services here or closer to where they live,” Bernice said.

If people call or text between 4 to midnight a person in Casper will answer. Their goal is to be there 24 hours a day seven days a week. “We are looking to get additional funding to ramp up,” Kevin said.

To end the stigma, their motto is Asking for help is the new cowboy tough.

Wyoming’s first suicide prevention call center aims to change how the Cowboy State views mental health


Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in print as part of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s December Mental Health Resource Guide.

Bernice Hazucha’s goal is to ensure every Wyomingite in crisis gets their call answered.

The suicidologist, who moved from New York to Wyoming with her husband, Kevin, in September 2018, has 20 years of experience working as a suicide intervention counselor for the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral Health. Now, she serves as the suicide prevention lifeline director at the Central Wyoming Counseling Center in Casper – the home of Wyoming’s first local suicide prevention call center.

Until the center opened Aug. 11, Wyoming was the only state without its own call center for those in crisis. This meant Wyomingites with suicidal thoughts and/or specific plans to end their life had to call the national number and hope they were successfully reconnected to the closest state’s center, risking long wait times in a situation when every second matters.

Sure enough, on its second day open, Wyoming’s first call center saved its first life.

“Once we get that caller, it’s very crucial, because we don’t know what is on that caller’s mind,” Bernice said. “Does he have a plan? So we ask them that within the conversation. Some may admit to it, some may not admit to it, but that’s what we’re doing … we just talk through it, have a conversation, appease them as best as we can. And if they’re escalated, we deescalate them.”

The center wouldn’t be open if the Hazuchas hadn’t pushed for it. They were shocked to learn the state with the second-highest suicide rate (according to the latest American Association of Suicidology data, which is from 2018) didn’t have a local call center for the lifeline, so they put together an advocacy plan within the first few months of moving to the Cowboy State.

Bernice’s husband, Kevin, is the CEO of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, which is part of the Wyoming Association of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers, so one of the couple’s first moves was to advocate for a call center with the Wyoming Department of Health and the governor’s office. They also reached out to WAMHSAC members and secured their vital support. Subsequently, the Department of Health released an RFI, to which CWCC replied and submitted a proposal, but it took a while to hear anything back.

By January 2020, they were able to secure an audience with Gov. Mark Gordon and Jen Davis, his health and human service policy adviser. Through the advocacy work of WAMHSAC Executive Director Andi Summerville, legislators such as Rep. Pat Sweeney, R-Casper, also got on board, and several meetings and one RFP later, the Hazuchas were awarded a contract to open the center.

The Hazuchas expressed their gratitude to the “new” Department of Health administration, as well as to Governor Gordon and Sweeney, among other state legislators, for bringing their dream of opening a local call center to fruition.

“The single most important aspect of any of this is Bernice’s passion,” Kevin said. “And her expertise and her inuence on getting this to happen. When we met with the governor, he and Jen Davis had some great questions on how this would work and why it’s important, and Bernice was able to rattle off all the answers in rapid succession and share her experience being in a very, very busy 24-hour, seven-daysa-week week call center in New York. And that impressed the governor.”

Since opening in August, the Hazuchas have noticed that not everyone dialing their number is calling because they’re suicidal. Many are seniors who don’t have anyone else to talk to, but the center’s two full-time employees never hang up. They treat each caller with the respect they deserve, and always try to help however they can.

If someone does call in an immediate crisis situation, the scenario turns into an active rescue. The call center employee tries to get the caller’s whereabouts and learn if they have a plan and lethal means readily available to them. Then Bernice gets on the phone with the police department in whatever community this person is calling from and sends an officer to the scene.

“You can have a day where there’s no calls, you can have a day where there’s five or six or seven calls,” Kevin said. “You can have a day where there’s no calls and then all of a sudden, at 11, you can get that one really critical call where you’re involving other agencies and you’re getting somebody out there. It really is a lifesaver, and we’ve experienced that already.”

No matter what the situation is, the Hazuchas agree the most important thing for the call center employees is to remain on the line. Similar to 911 operators, they stay on the call until they’ve communicated directly with the police on the scene and they’ve been told the situation is under control. Many of the police officers they’ve worked with so far have previously received Crisis Intervention Training, Bernice said, so they’re used to intervening in high-pressure situations. (In Cheyenne, about 60% of the officers are CIT certified, according to Chief Brian Kozak’s Nov. 30 address.)

It’s also a requirement for every call center employee to receive Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, which is offered both locally and regionally by Cheyenne-based suicide prevention and postvention nonprofit Grace for 2 Brothers Foundation.

Bernice noted that the Casper center doesn’t just take calls from within Wyoming. Any call with a 307 area code is directed to the center, so that includes Wyoming cellphone owners who are on a trip out of state, who have moved to a new state, etc. That can make the job much more difficult when a center employee is trying to determine someone’s whereabouts in a state they aren’t familiar with. However, they make it work, and Bernice said even though her job is to manage her two employees and oversee the center operations, she doesn’t hesitate to jump in when things get hectic.

“We’ve had some nights that it gets busy and my staff are fairly new at this, so having my experience, I can navigate those calls, I can pick up,” Bernice said. “I miss answering calls, so that’s something that I enjoy very much.” It’s a passion that few people share due to the taboo nature of suicide, and that just adds fuel to her fire.

“To talk it out with somebody, a trained staff (member), we can help them get to where they need to be to get out of that dark place,” she said. “And sometimes we also suggest coping skills and safety plans with the caller. And we encourage them. A lot of callers are embarrassed to call. We’ve been getting that a lot, they’re embarrassed and say, ‘I should never be calling here,’ and it’s because of, I’m assuming, that pick-yourselves-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality here in Wyoming.”

New Yorkers are tough, Bernice said, so this isn’t her rst time working with people who might believe asking for help with their mental health is a sign of weakness. But there’s something about Wyoming culture that can make it even more challenging to reach people.

“That frontier mentality of ‘do it on your own, you don’t need help, don’t ask for help,’ it’s way more pronounced here,” Kevin said. “And that’s why our tagline is ‘Asking for help is the new cowboy tough.’ And I think we need to emphasize the importance of asking for help.”

So far, the couple is pleased with how day-to-day operations are running at the call center. The two employees answering the phone are getting in the swing of things, and Bernice said she feels they’re making a real difference in the state. Now, all they need is more funding so they can increase their staff and eventually be able to answer the phone at any hour.

“I’m grateful for what we got. But we want to be there 24/7,” Kevin added. “Especially during this time of COVID, we need to be kind to one another. We’re all stressed, but I think we need to look out for each other. … you’re not going to put the idea (of suicide) into somebody’s head by asking ‘Have you thought about taking your own life?.’ We need to de-stigmatize talking about these things, because that’s the first step.”

Niki Kottmann is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s features editor. She can be reached at or 307-633-3135. Follow her on Twitter @niki_mariee.

How to call
What: Wyoming Lifeline (suicide prevention hotline)
When: Open 4 p.m.-midnight every Sunday-Thursday
Where: The call center is located inside the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, 1430 Wilkins Circle, Casper
Phone: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Wyoming’s first in-state suicide prevention hotline launches in Casper

image 2

Wyoming is no longer the only state without a local suicide prevention call center. The Central Wyoming Counseling Center on Tuesday launched the state’s first and only service, a project years in the making.

When Bernice and Kevin Hazucha came to Wyoming in 2018 from New York, Bernice was dismayed to learn the state didn’t have a local outlet for people in crisis to call when they needed someone to talk to.

Of course Wyomingites have been able to call national hotlines, but the people on the other end wouldn’t be in Wyoming and so wouldn’t have the context about the place the Hazuchas say is so important when responding to mental health in the state.

Kevin is the CEO of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, and Bernice up to that point had spent her entire career as a bilingual suicide prevention counselor for a call center in New York.

Having the necessary background in Bernice, and the needed facility in the counseling center, the pair went to work lobbying the state.

“We’ve been dogged with this,” Kevin said. “Because of Bernice’s background, we were able to jump a lot of hurdles.”

Eventually, after maybe a year of meetings with various state and health officials, the state issued a request for proposals for an in-state suicide prevention call center. The Central Wyoming Counseling Center responded to the request, and was ultimately awarded a contract.

Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a Wyoming contingent. The state allocated $400,000 to the hotline for the current two-year budget cycle, Kim Deti, a spokesperson for the Wyoming Department of Health, said.

That gives the counseling center enough leeway to staff one eight-hour shift, five days a week. Bernice is the call center director, and she’ll have two additional staff.

The pair said they hope to eventually expand enough to staff the center 24/7. Though that will require some fundraising, Kevin said. The center is accepting private donations.

While local counselors will only be staffed from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, residents can call the local hotline number, 307-776-0610, at other times and be redirected to the national hotline.

Wyoming’s per capita suicide rate has ranked in the top five nationwide since 1996. Last year, it had the second-highest rate in the U.S. Much of the Mountain West faces similar concerns. The high suicide rate has been attributed to a variety of factors, from limited light pollution, to altitude, to more access to firearms.

Bernice said she thinks a lack of a Wyoming-specific crisis hotline has also contributed.

“Somebody that has never encountered mental health services,” Bernice said, “They can pick up the phone and they can’t see us, but they can hear us,” which might make asking for help less intimidating.

Wyoming’s “cowboy tough” ethos often encourages people to “go it alone,” Kevin said. It’s a difficult barrier to overcome, and a hotline might be the first step in getting someone the proper mental health services they need.

“That person may never make that call again,” Kevin said, so it’s important the staffer answering the phones knows about Wyoming, its culture and the services available in the state.

This illustrates another service the hotline can provide. It’s not only for persons in crisis, Bernice said. The Counseling Center provides a variety of mental health services, and Kevin said the facility is allied with a litany of mental health providers statewide.

If someone calls needing particular services, those manning the hotline will be able to direct them through the proper channels.

That said, Kevin thinks the hotline will predominantly be used for those in crisis. In those cases, “it could really save a life,” he said, by helping direct law enforcement or medical services if someone called having already acted, or with plans to hurt themselves.

The hotline officially opened at 4 p.m. Tuesday, with remarks from Gov. Gordon and a ribbon cutting at the new center on the Central Wyoming Counseling Center campus.

First Statewide Suicide Hotline Opens at Central Wyoming Counseling Center

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For Gov. Mark Gordon, the new statewide suicide prevention hotline is personal.

A young man he coached in soccer struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts called him and told him that it was important for someone on the other end of the line to know Wyoming and its people, Gordon said Tuesday at the Central Wyoming Counseling Center.

The hotline will have people to receive calls who understands the state, the circumstances, the community and resources, he said.

The coronavirus has aggravated mental health issues as people practice social distancing to reduce the spread of the disease, Gordon said. “Sadly, sadly, … it falls on the individual who is trying to cope and having a difficult time saying … ‘I’ve just reached the end of my rope.'”

In 2017, the most recent year for this data, suicide was Wyoming’s seventh-leading cause of death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For every 100,000 Wyoming residents, about 25 took their own lives in 2018, according to the CDC. At the time, that was the highest rate in the nation.

The suicide hotline is probably the only new state program as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with a collapsed oil market, will slaughter the budget for the next biennium.

Gordon and Wyoming Health Department Director Mike Ceballos asked for and received from the Legislature the $200,000 a year grant to start the part-time hotline that initially will operate at 40 hours a week with three employees in a dedicated room at the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, the center’s CEO Kevin Hazucha said.

“Our ultimate goal is to have this up and running 24/7,” Hazucha said. “Given what the state economy is and what a bind everybody’s in, I’m really grateful we got this from the state.”

 The center will look for other funding, and will work with the National Suicide Lifeline Prevention to add more shifts, he said.

To be fully operational would require about $600,000, Hazucha said.

In a statement last week, CWCC Suicide Prevention Lifeline Director Bernice Hazucha said, “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.”

The hotline opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The number is (307) 776-0610.



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.

“In the interim, callers can use the 307-776-0610 phone number anytime during CWCC Suicide Prevention Lifeline hours,” CWCC said. “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.



In an effort to fight suicide across the Cowboy State, Central Wyoming Counseling Center and Governor Mark Gordon officially opened Wyoming’s first suicide call center Tuesday, August 11 during a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The CWCC Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects callers across Wyoming who are facing suicide and other kinds of crises with counseling and relevant local services. Although Wyoming annually faces devastating suicide rates, we’ve been behind the rest of the country in providing a local call center resource. A local call center means that the mental health professionals can better relate to callers and quickly connect them to nearby resources like law enforcement and medical hospitals, which will result in more positive outcomes through callers’ most difficult times.


After nearly two years of planning, and with support from the Governor’s office and the Wyoming Department of Health, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline officially opened August 11. Read more about the call center’s grand opening on Oil City NewsK2 RadioKCWY TV or the Casper Star Tribune

CWCC is proud to be Wyoming’s lifeline, and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is already fighting suicide in Wyoming. Asking for help is the new Cowboy Tough. If you’re considering suicide or in another crisis, call the Central Wyoming Counseling Center Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call Center at 1-800-273-TALK or 307-776-0610.



Zurhellen Photo 1

(Casper, Wyo.) Central Wyoming Counseling Center is welcoming Navy veteran and VetZero founder Tommy Zurhellen to Casper Sunday, June 9 during his walk across the country in support of veteran suicide and homelessness.

Zurhellen, a Marist College English professor, began his 3,000-mile solo journey April 15 in Portland, Oregon, and has walked across Idaho and is now in Wyoming. He’ll continue though Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan and will end his journey in New York in late August. His goal is to walk an average of 22 miles everyday to honor the 22 veterans who take their own lives every day. Zurhellen doesn’t have a tent, and he only sleeps indoors when he can find someone to take him in, which replicates the experience of an estimated 40,387 homeless veterans in America. This is also the dollar amount he’s hoping to raise at

In Wyoming, veteran and civilian suicide is a huge concern among mental health organizations like Central Wyoming Counseling Center (CWCC), especially with one of the nation’s highest suicide rates.

“It can be very difficult for veterans to open up and talk about their experiences. When they’re facing depression and other behavioral health concerns alone, it can tragically lead to suicide. We need to get our returning heroes the treatment they need. Tommy’s journey and visit to Casper is a great way to get that conversation going and show other veterans they have a community behind them ready to help,” CWCC CEO Kevin Hazucha said.

Zurhellen’s journey has taken him through rain, snow, hunger, pain and the mental grind of walking 8 hours everyday for the last several weeks. He arrived in Wyoming May 27, and is scheduled to reach Casper Saturday, June 8, weather permitting.

“It’s not surprising that Wyoming’s suicide rates are so high, because it’s easy to feel lonely out here,” Zurhellen said as he was walking outside of Rawlins. “Veterans need to talk to other veterans, but a lot of times they don’t want to talk. When you live in a rural area like Wyoming, it’s even harder to connect to those circles. But I have been amazed by the kindness and generosity of the people here, so there’s a lot of hope,” he said.

To learn more about Zurhellen and his mission, visit, and get updates on his journey at Zurhellen is available to the media via phone when services permits and can be contacted anytime through his Facebook page.


art reception redux masks

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the Central Wyoming Counseling Center (CWCC) is celebrating by hosting an art gallery in its lobby May 14 to May 18 featuring pieces created by CWCC clients and staff.Mental Health Awareness Month emphasizes that health is holistic; we’re treated by a medical doctor when we have physical ailments, so naturally we need to treat mental illnesses the same way. This initiative also aims to combat the negative stigmas surrounding mental health, and CWCC is highlighting the positives with this first-ever art gallery.“This is going to showcase the incredible things that our clients and staff are capable of. It’s really unfortunate that people with mental illnesses often deal with negative stigma, but we’re showing people that our clients have hobbies and interests and talents, just like everyone else,” CWCC Director of Recovery Services Tabatha Madrigal said.Any piece of artwork created by CWCC staff or clients is eligible for submission, while residential clients are making submissions specially for this event. Madrigal explained that mental health patients often face a duality in how clients see their own illness versus how the rest of the world perceives it. In response, each client created two-sided masks with one side each representing both of these experiences. These masks will be hung from the ceiling so each side is visible.To honor the work and recognize Mental Health Awareness Month, CWCC is hosting a free reception Monday, May 14 beginning at 5:00 p.m. Food and beverages will be served, and the gallery will be open to the public for viewings. In addition to the reception, the lobby will be open for the community to browse the pieces through May 18 during regular business hours. To learn more about the reception or Mental Health Awareness Month, contact Danielle Krucheck at or call 207.237.9583.



May 17th, Central Wyoming Counseling Center not only celebrated the opening of its new Comprehensive Crisis and Stabilization Services, but also the fact that these comprehensive services are now available in the state. A step down from intensive inpatient hospital-based services, the new services at Central Wyoming Counseling Center include social detoxification services, crisis stabilization, sub-acute residential treatment (SART) and intensive outpatient treatment.

We’re filling the gap that exists,” said Brandon Wardell, CEO of Central Wyoming Counseling Center. “Not everybody needs to qualify for that high level of care.”

Continue reading this article from Wyoming Business Report.




Continuing a legacy of hope through a new brand.

Casper, Wyoming

Central Wyoming Counseling Center (Central) has undergone a total brand update and today announces it’s new logo, tagline, and website created to continue their legacy and support their mission.

The new brand identity has been softly released over the past 2 months. It reflects Central’s commitment to Casper, surrounding communities and the state Wyoming. The new tagline “Hope is here.” communicates Central’s promise to provide hope by supporting and understanding their clients Behavioral Health needs. The logo has been updated to reflect both the evolution of Central as well as their vision for the future.

With the new brand, Central is also launching a new website ( meant to increase their online presence and provide current and prospective clients with information about Central and their range of Behavioral Health services. Service offerings include:

  • Intensive Treatment
  • Adult
  • Youth & Family
  • Addiction
  • Medical

Supporting Quotes:

Regarding Central’s new brand, CEO, Brandon Wardell said:

During the rebranding process we reviewed and revised our mission as an organization. “Leading behavioral health in Wyoming through our continued legacy of stewardship, innovation and compassion” This statement along with our new brand sets the tone as we look to the future and continue to support our community.

Regarding Central’s service offerings, Chief Clinical Officer, Joseph Forscher said:

Daily, Central’s commitment is to provide hope through our services. Our range of services are tailored to support our clients and the surrounding community. Our treatment approaches bridge the gap between psychiatric and physical health. This approach helps clients work through life concerns and achieve greater levels of satisfaction.

About Central:

Since 1959, Central Wyoming Counseling Center (Central) has been Natrona County’s non-profit community behavioral health center; dedicated to helping all Residents of Wyoming with their mental health and substance abuse treatment needs and concerns.

For further information contact Victoria Ziton by phone (307) 237-9583, or email