Sublette checker | Psychiatric health funds available through community service

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SUBLETTE COUNTY – Scenic mountain views, endless outdoor recreation, and small town hospitality define life in Sublette County.

“Rural areas are beautiful, they have all of the things we want,” said Melinda Bobo, principal of St. Andrew’s at Pines Episcopal Church.

The natural beauty and friendliness of the area belies the persistent fact that small communities are difficult living, often struggling with mental health and suicide.

“Rural areas are very stressful because you are isolated,” said Bobo. “It’s hard to get to places when you need help. The hospital is 80 miles in one direction and 100 miles in the other direction. If you need something, you can’t necessarily walk into the store and buy it. There is always this awareness that if something happens here, there is no quick fix. It’s not an easy solution. “

Bobo is closely involved with mental health and suicide prevention. In addition to her role as a spiritual leader, Bobo serves as the chair of the Sublette Prevention Coalition and works with numerous agencies across the county to improve mental health resources.

The pandemic has affected mental health. However, the opportunity arose for various organizations in Sublette County to work together on a solution.

The Episcopal Churches of St. Andrew’s and St. Hubert, with support from the Foundation for the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming, have partnered with the Boulder Roll Poker Run group, the Women’s Advocacy Group, and private donors to create a public mental health fund.

The funds will be available to everyone in Sublette County, even visitors or short-term residents who are experiencing a mental health crisis, Bobo said. The fund is segregated from other COVID-19 relief programs and people don’t have to prove their mental health issues are related to the pandemic, Bobo said.

“We didn’t want people to have to try to find out, ‘Is what happened to me about COVID? Will COVID make it worse? ‘”Added Bobo. “It really doesn’t matter because you feel what you feel and you go through what you go through and we have to deal with it and we have to help you with it.”

The process of getting financial help is simple. There are no applications and the administration of the funds is anonymous, said Bobo. People looking for help just need to turn to a psychologist in an agency or a private counselor. The client and their counselor discuss the financial needs and the counselor or agency contacts the Mental Health Fund.

“We really feel that mental health is a tough issue for people in itself,” said Bobo. “We don’t want any obstacles”

Get the ball rolling

In April 2020, when COVID-19 overran the planet, the Foundation stood up for the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming to provide relief.

The foundation offered each episcopal congregation a $ 10,000 grant that they “can spend as they please in their congregations,” Bobo said.

Realizing that the pandemic would be a long-term crisis, the foundation released a second round of grants in July 2020.

The foundation’s funds may seem small compared to the billions in COVID-19 aid dollars at the federal and state levels, but the grants enabled individual communities to respond immediately to specific local needs in an ever-changing situation, Bobo said.

“The local churches are closest to the church – they know the problems. You are best able to say, ‘This is where $ 1,000, 10,000, 50,000 could make a meaningful change in the community.

St. Andrew’s uses its grant money to support community facilities and help individuals with diverse needs, from childcare and rental support to helping with medical bills and vehicle expenses, Bobo said.

In October, St. Andrew’s and St. Hubert’s received a $ 50,000 Collaborative Foundation Grant to help alleviate the effects of COVID-19.

The communities set aside part of the second mental health grant and expanded the fund with the Collaborative Foundation Grant, Bobo said.

A growing need for local schools has given the impetus to maintaining a separate mental health fund for people of all ages.

“The school districts came to the Prevention Coalition and said, ‘We have children who do not take referrals for counseling because they feel that their parents are worried enough and that they are not financially responsible for the stress they already have,” said Bobo.

Bobo said the church did not think twice about reaching them.

“As a local extension of the Diocese of Wyoming, we have this opportunity to exert the influence on the lives of the people to which we are called as Christians. Period. That is our task.”

And keep it up

More than 100 people came early on a Saturday morning in June to take part in the fifth annual Boulder Roll Poker Run. Motorcycles and vintage cars lined the autobahn and conjured up fun, freedom and adventure.

However, the organizers had a very serious mission. The main focus of the Boulder Roll Poker Run group is on suicide prevention and education, according to the organizers. The speakers asked to remain anonymous.

The Poker Run is one of the group’s largest fundraisers, and the 2021 event broke all records with approximately $ 13,000 raised in support of suicide prevention programs.

For three years, donations went to the National Suicide Lifeline, an organizer said. Last year the group decided to keep the funds local.

“We found that everyone in our circle was either affected or seriously affected by suicide,” they said.

The boulder roll is about building a care community and ending the stigma that often surrounds conversations about mental health and suicide.

“We all drive for someone,” said a spokesman. “Many of us travel for more than one person – some of us know several people who have died of suicide. So we ride in memory of them and we ride for their families and to give everyone the hope that there is someone who cares. “

The organization found out about the Episcopal Church’s Mental Health Fund and took the chance to contribute to a “brilliant cause.”

The Boulder Roll Poker Run Group is expanding its presence in the community. The group distributed brochures about the Mental Health Fund during the Rendezvous Parade and held a community potluck in December.

“As a community, we are the first line of defense. We see these signs (of suicide). Our community is trained in QPR. If we can redirect someone to mental health, if we recognize their exit moments, then we have saved a life. “

The group stands ready to raise and raise more for the Mental Health Fund during Boulder Roll 2022.

“We will triple our amount next year,” said one organizer.

Make an impact

The Mental Health Fund is already helping the people of Sublette County get the resources they need. Dayle Read-Hudson, a private advisor in Sublette County, told Roundup that several clients took the opportunity to seek help from the fund.

“It’s nice to see the relief on people’s faces when they know that money is available for them,” said Read-Hudson. “You were so grateful. You have the feeling that someone out there is interested. “

People in Sublette County no longer have to choose between paying for food or getting psychiatric treatment.

“It only opens doors,” said Read-Hudson. “The fund removes financial barriers and takes away some of the worries.”

Bobo, Read-Hudson, and the Boulder Roll folks encouraged anyone who needed help to get in touch and seek help immediately.

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