ROCK SPRINGS — The Rock Springs City Council decided to support a local initiative geared toward spreading information about suicide prevention. The goal is simple: place logos providing a local suicide hotline number on the side of Sweetwater County Transit Authority Resource (STAR) buses.
The Council decided to help out with the local initiative after hearing from United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Local 4893 President Les Mauch. Mauch approached the Council tonight with a unique idea on how to spread the word about suicide prevention.
Mauch said he has been working with Southwest County Coalition representatives Shelby Gordon and Delaney Wells to come up with a logo that will be placed on the side of one STAR bus. The UMWA offered to pay for the logo’s placement so residents will learn the local hotline number. The cost to place the logo on one STAR bus is $2,640 for the entire year.
Mauch said he came up with the idea after listening to some pretty disturbing statistics about Sweetwater County’s suicide rates at a recent Council meeting.
“Then some things happened in the community that hit home for me, so I decided to take some action,” Mauch said.
On June 8, Gordon and Mauch created the logo and presented it to the UMWA to see if they would be willing to pay for placement on a STAR bus for one year. The UMWA agreed it would be a great benefit to ensure residents had a local hotline number to call instead the national one. Mauch said residents needing help can call this number anytime. Someone is available to take calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
According to Mauch, residents should look for the hotline’s number along with the slogan “There is help. There is hope,” on the side of a STAR bus starting in July.
“The reason I’m standing up tonight, is I’d like to ask the city Council, the Mayor, to stand with us,” he said.
He asked them to place the logo on another STAR bus for 12 months. This way, they could increase its visibility.
“Lets get this information out there,” Mauch said.
Mayor Tim Kaumo said Mauch is right. Residents need to know who to call if they or someone they know are in need of help. Kaumo said they thought about a billboard, but it’s only in one location. By placing the information on a STAR bus, it can be seen all over town. It will act like a mobile billboard, he said.
“I think it’s a great idea for $2,640 a year,” Kaumo said. “Of course, you can’t put a price on a life.”
He asked the Council for their support and suggested they take money from the Mayor/Council budget to pay for one year. This would be a way to get the information out there to people who are in crisis. They need to know what number to call.
All of the Councilors were on board with the idea and some even had ideas on ways to take it even further.
“I think these would be great on police cars,” Councilor Tim Robinson said.
Robinson suggested they place the logos in the back of the police cars’ windows.
Councilor Rob Zotti suggested placing the logo on all of the city’s vehicles. They are always all over the city and very visible.
Rock Springs Police Chief Dwayne Pacheco said he has been meeting with the Southwest Counseling Service and Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County representatives to try and address the different issues the community is facing. He said they all agreed the community is in crisis.
“We are all one event away from being in crisis,” Pacheco said. “It’s not just suicide.”
It could be problems with a family member or losing a job. The community needs to pull its resources and find ways to help those in need, he said.
Mayor Kaumo said he and Chief Pacheco will meet to discuss placing the logos in police cars.