People need to talk about suicide – and in particular, they need to talk about it with children.
That’s according to Ann Perkins, who’s the community prevention manager with Sheridan County. In an interview with Sheridan Media, Perkins said there’s a fear that talking about suicide with children will influence them to take their lives.
But, she said, that’s a myth. Suicide needs to be talked about, and people need to learn what to look for – the signs of suicide – and how to ask for help when they need it.
Although Perkins doesn’t know how Sheridan County stacks up against the rest of the state, nationally the Centers for Disease Control announced earlier this month that, based on 2019 statistics, Wyoming leads the country in suicide rates per capita.
Perkins said the Top Five states in terms of suicide were, in addition to Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, New Mexico and Colorado. All are Rocky Mountain states, she said, and all are states whose populations have a strong streak of independence that keeps them from asking for help.
Complicating the picture, she said, is that in Wyoming, people have easier access to firearms than in some other states, and firearms are a deadly means of suicide. According to the CDC, firearm suicides were the most common, accounting for over 50 percent of all suicide deaths in 2019.
Perkins said Sheridan County Prevention is constantly offering suicide prevention training, including in schools in the county and training for those who are interested in becoming trainers themselves.
She said the county would love to have more trainers. Those interested in becoming trainers are asked to contact Perkins either on her cell phone or in her office at Sheridan County Prevention.
Sheridan Media will have more on what Sheridan County is doing with regard to suicide prevention in future stories.