SHERIDAN — Sheridan bars have united in an important battle — they’re helping Sheridan’s veterans health care system in a “Big Ask” campaign to end veteran suicide.
In 2020, an estimated 44,298 adults died by suicide, including 6,146 veterans. The suicide rate for veterans, adjusted for population age and gender differences, translates to 57.3% higher than for non-veteran American adults. Unfortunately, less than half of veterans who die by suicide have contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs for help.
“We want to be a resource for veterans, especially those in crisis,” said Kayla Stevens, of the Sheridan Veterans Health Care System Suicide Prevention Program. “However, the most important part for us is that veterans receive help. That’s why we have this “Big Ask” for our community members. »
The “great demand”
Sheridan bars are now sharing special coasters with information about this #ReachOut2Me community campaign. The coaster, provided by the Sheridan VA team, includes the Veterans Crisis Line and information about it – specifically that it is a resource for anyone concerned about a veteran . The “Big Ask” is a request that customers also use the coaster in a personal social media post to share the message that if a veteran in their circles needs someone to contact, they can “contact me “.
“I know the idea of making yourself available to help someone in crisis is scary,” Stevens said. “The key is knowing what to say before you have to say it. That’s why we also provide training to staff at every bar on what to do if they’re worried about someone who might be in crisis. and we will do training for any organization that wants to help us end veteran suicide.
According to the Wyoming Department of Health, in 2021, Wyoming’s suicide rate was 31.1 per 100,000, compared to a national rate of 14 per 100,000.
“Every individual plays a role in suicide prevention,” Stevens said. “By sharing information from the crisis line on your social media, you show the veterans in your life that you support them while breaking the stigma around mental health treatment. Everyone has mental health issues from time to time and there’s no shame in talking about them with those you trust or seeing a mental health professional.
Sheridan organizations with bars participating in this campaign, as of October 14, are: VFW Post 1560, American Legion Post 7, Beaver Creek Saloon, Black Tooth Brewing Company, Derby Club Gaming Parlor, Elks Lodge #520, Firewater Smokehouse Grill, Luminous Brewhouse, The Mint Bar, My Buddy’s Place, No Name Bar, Rainbow Bar, Smith Alley Brewing Company, Pony Grill & Bar, Powder River Pizza, Tasting Library, McGregor’s Bar & Grille, Welcome Market Hall, and Wyoming Rib and Chop House.
The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline can now be accessed by dialing 988, with the Veterans Crisis Line available by pressing “1” afterwards. This updated number went into effect nationwide on July 16, but the old number (1-800-273-8255, press “1” for Veterans Crisis Line) will continue to operate. to be active indefinitely. Anyone concerned about a veteran can also text 838255 or visit Veteranscrisisline.net for resources or live chat.