In a bid to combat the rising concern of suicide across the state, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is sharing updated information about the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and its presence in Wyoming. This initiative was put in to practice as the first wave of the state’s commitment to reducing suicide-related deaths and ensuring that help is always within reach.
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, a nationwide service, is designed to be free, confidential, and available around the clock. It operates through a network of local crisis centers that offer individuals in suicidal crisis or emotional distress free and confidential emotional support. Wyoming, in particular, boasts two call centers within this lifeline network, with the hope that it adds a local touch to the assistance.
Alicia Johnson, the Crisis/988 Program Manager with WDH, highlights the importance of having Wyoming-based call centers, stating in a press release, “We believe it’s a benefit for most Wyoming callers to be connected to a Wyoming-based call center, with staff that may be more relatable.” She also emphasizes the collaborative effort among various partners to make this localized resource available within the state.
While the majority of calls from Wyoming residents are answered by Wyoming-based centers, the national network serves as a crucial backup for those rare occasions when local centers cannot respond promptly. Johnson went on to address some common questions about the 988 lifeline in a press release: “What happens when you call 988?” and “What happens when you text 988?”
“If they call, we tell people they’ll hear a recorded greeting while the call is routed to a local 988 crisis center. If a local crisis center is unable to take the call, callers are automatically routed to a national backup crisis center,” Johnson explains. “A trained crisis counselor will answer the phone, listen, work to understand problems, provide support, and share helpful resources.”
For those who prefer texting or using the chat function on 988lifeline.org, responses are provided by a group of lifeline crisis centers that handle both text messages and online chats.
Another common inquiry is, “What happens if I don’t have a 307 area code?” Currently, calls to 988 are directed to the nearest crisis center based on the caller’s area code. Johnson clarifies, “So if you are a Wyoming resident without a 307 area code, your call would be routed to the center most associated with your current area code.” Similarly, if someone has a 307 area code but is not physically in the state, they would be routed to a Wyoming call center.
Counselors may request callers’ locations in emergency situations or to provide local referrals. While federal and state partners are exploring options to route calls based on a person’s actual location rather than the phone’s area code, this feature is not yet available.
The lifeline offers live crisis center services in both English and Spanish, with translation support in over 250 additional languages. However, text and chat support is currently available exclusively in English.
To sustain Wyoming’s 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline services, a combination of state and federal funding is involved. Individuals interested in contributing to the overall 988 operations in Wyoming can complete a donation form found online here. Notably, donations through the State of Wyoming are not tax-deductible. Alternatively, one can directly support one of the two Wyoming-based 988 call centers contracted by WDH:
- Wyoming Lifeline at (307) 527-1113
- Central Wyoming Counseling Center Lifeline at (307) 237-9583
It’s essential to remember that if you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please dial 911. If you or someone you know is grappling with thoughts of suicide or emotional distress, reach out to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 or visiting 988lifeline.org – because help is always just a call or click away.