EMS Champion of Hope

Jun 18, 2019

Ellie the Elephant spent some time with the Campbell County Health Emergency Medical Services staff recently after winning the Champion of Hope monthly recognition from the Campbell County Suicide Prevention Coalition (CCSPC) in May 2019.

“EMS is a champion of mental health in our community by ensuring patients who are experiencing mental health issues have a pathway into CCH’s system for definitive care,” says Christopher Beltz, EMT-P, Director of CCH Emergency Medical Services. “Out in the community, EMS treats patients with mental health concerns in many ways including talking with and reassuring patients through a crisis, referring them to mental health professionals in Behavioral Health Services, and/or transporting them to Campbell County Memorial Hospital for immediate access to crisis counselors. The compassion and empathy of every EMS employee is very helpful in connecting with these patients and guiding them to the help they need.”

According to Ashley Whisler, Community Prevention Specialist, conversations around mental health, and suicide specifically, are often uncomfortable; and prevention work can be difficult.

"With these notions in mind, the Campbell County Suicide Prevention Coalition developed a way to recognize champions in our community who dedicate their time, effort and support to address the uncomfortable topics that must be addressed. The goal was to twofold: celebrate those doing self-less work and continue talking about mental health in our community," says Ashley.

In December 2018, the Campbell County Champion of Hope initiative was established by the CCSPC in Gillette, Wyoming. Community members and were asked to nominate anyone in the community that they view as a “champion of hope.” The nomination includes the champion’s name, contact information, and a synopsis of how this person is a champion in our community. The nominations are then brought to the CCSPC for a vote.

New champions are selected each month, and the champion recipient receives our traveling trophy, and a treasure to keep for their efforts. The traveling trophy is a large, stuffed elephant named Ellie. The elephant is symbolic of mental health, as mental health is often seen as the “elephant in the room.”

With EMS, Ellie was kept busy going on inter-facility transfers, participating in EMS training, as well as going to special event standbys.

Since the inception of this project, the CCSPC has recognized several champions:

  • December 2018: Kip Farnum, Campbell County School District
  • January 2019: Campbell County High School Journalism Students
  • February 2019: Billy Montgomery, City Council
  • March 2019: Campbell County Juvenile Detention Officers Kayla Graves, and Ty Case
  • April 2019: Campbell County Commissioners
  • May 2019: Campbell County Health Emergency Medical Services

If you need someone to talk with about your suicidal feelings, please do not hesitate to talk to someone who can help at the numbers below:

  • CCH Behavioral Health Services Crisis Line at 307-688-5050
  • Text “ENERGY” to 741-741
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger because of thoughts of suicide call 911 NOW.

You can get more information on the warning signs of suicide, risk factors for suicide, and resources available in our community at www.cchwyo.org/preventsuicide.