On March 18, 2020, the Eastern Shoshone Tribe declared a state of emergency and there are 209 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Freemont County, the location of the WRR. This emergency and the relatively high number of cases dictated a stay-at-home-order for all residents. COVID-19 has impacted how individuals in our community access and receive services, with veterans, domestic violence victims, and the elderly placed at high risk for suicide. Before the COVID 19 pandemic, direct services to these groups were extremely limited. COVID-19 threatens our ability to reach these high-risk populations because direct service providers are not open, transportation resources are closed or limited, and many in this population lack access to the internet or have limited computer skills to access virtual services. In sum, the current conditions fail to fully support these high-risk populations, resulting in a high risk for suicide, domestic violence, and other behavioral health problems. The purpose of the project is to develop and implement a plan for rapid follow-up of adults who have attempted suicide or experienced a suicidal crisis after discharge from emergency departments and inpatient psychiatric facilities. In addition, this project will establish follow-up care and transition protocols, provide suicide prevention training, screening and assessment, recovery support, telehealth, and enhance services for domestic violence victims and their dependents as a result of COVID-19. This project will increase access to services using evidence-based services, recovery support services, and crisis mental health services on the WRR. This will be accomplished by the following two goals: 1. Goal One: Develop and implement plans, protocols, and training opportunities to support direct services providers and adults over age 25 impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 2. Goal Two: Expand access to community recovery supports, telehealth services, and enhanced services for victims of domestic violence. Eastern Shoshone Recovery program will support these two goals through a variety of evidence and practice-based services including implementing the Zero Suicide Model. Suicide and domestic violence response protocols will be developed and revised to better serve victims. Additionally, cultural implementation of services such as sweats, talking circles, and community gatherings will also be used for the overall success and sustainability of the program.
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WY Discretionary Funding Fiscal Year 2021
Northern Wyoming Mental Health Center (NWMHC) plans to impact mental health and co-occurring service needs in frontier counties of northeast Wyoming. NWMCH will utilize CMHC funds to reduce behavioral health disparities in frontier and rural communities and address unmet needs as a result of the pandemic in northeast Wyoming. NWMHC will expand peer specialist services to improve access to individuals and families struggling with mental health and co-occurring disorders. Increased support services in our region will improve access to, and use of, early intervention, crisis intervention and ongoing mental health services both individuals affected by COVID-19. NWMHC will expand telehealth capabilities in all four counties with infrastructure to reach those in the most remote areas of the region to provide audio and audio-visual HIPAA compliant telehealth capabilities. NWMHC will provide outpatient services for individuals with SED, SMI, and COD in all four counties with a targeted focus on the most sparsely populated regions of our frontier counties. NWMHC will provide trauma informed screening, assessment, diagnosis, and patient-centered treatment planning and treatment delivery. NWMHC will provide clinical and recovery support services with peer specialists. NWMHC will develop and provide resources to address the mental health needs of CMHC staff and decrease provider loss in the community by implementing provider retention programs that focus on staff well-being affected by the pandemic including professional development and competency building. NWMHC will serve 100 individuals in the first year of the grant and an additional 100 individuals in the second year with full peer support inclusion in the workforce to sustain program activities beyond the grant funding period.
The “University of Wyoming’s Mental Health Awareness Training (UWMHAT)” Project will increase mental health awareness among University of Wyoming (UW) students by: 1) Implementing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), 2) Establishing and enhancing linkages to campus and community mental health providers for effective referrals; and 3) Decreasing stigma related to seeking mental health services. The population of focus is UW students. Demographics indicate the 10,294 UW students are primarily mono-lingual (English), and white/Caucasian (72%), with 6% Hispanic, 1% African-American/Black, 0.6% Native American, and 1% Asian. UW reports 51% female enrollment, and approximately 665 students per semester identify as veterans, National Guard members, or Reservists. Approximately 2,500 live in on-campus housing, with an estimated 7,500 living in the broader Laramie community (Enrollment Summary, Fall 2019). According to UW’s 2019 National College Health Assessment (NCHA), there is a critical need to better address UW student mental health. UW students reported experiencing the following in the past year: feeling exhausted not from exercise (83.1%), overwhelmed by all they had to do (87.4%), hopeless (52.4%), very lonely (61.4%), so depressed that it was difficult to function (40.9%), and seriously considering suicide (12%). Our strategies to promote mental health include providing training, connecting people to appropriate resources, and decreasing stigma. We will train participants in the evidence-based MHFA program. Individuals identified to receive MHFA training include professionals, students, and caregivers that interact with UW students. Specifically, we will offer training to UW campus emergency first responders, UW law enforcement, faculty, Student Affairs professionals, parents of UW students, student-athletes, student veterans, Resident Assistants, fraternity and sorority members, student government leaders, and peer educators. MHFA will also be provided to individuals within the broader Laramie community that may interact with UW students off-campus, including emergency first responders, law enforcement, and social service providers. Additionally, we will connect people to appropriate resources by publishing and disseminating a local resource guide of mental health services; and we will work to decrease stigma and promote mental health awareness through strategic messaging and a social marketing campaign. We will coordinate referrals to mental health services through the University Counseling Center. We expect to train 75 individuals in MHFA during the first year of the grant, and 100 people per year in years 2-5, with a total of 475 individuals trained in MHFA throughout the lifetime of the grant. At the end of each grant year, we expect that 50% of participants in MHFA will report utilizing the information they learned to connect someone to appropriate resources; and by Year 5, 70% of UW students will report awareness of at least one mental health resource, and 70% will report favorable attitudes toward seeking mental health resources.
Wyoming 2021 Project AWARE will partner with three LEAs and 2 behavioral health partners to deliver care through telehealth to serve 1,893 students per year. We will leverage resources developed from our 2020 award to standardize and further resource growth. Wyoming will outfit 1 room per school (28 total) to deliver telehealth services. Equipment for telehealth services is estimated at $115,000 and will be funded by resources outside of the Wyoming 2021 Project AWARE.
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