Cheyenne Capital Project
According to a survey by Mental Health America, nearly 50 million American adults experienced a mental illness in 2022. This same survey found that 22.56% of responding Wyoming adults said they struggled with mental illness in 2022, and 67.10% reported they were not able to access the resources they needed to treat their symptoms.
Wyoming also has the unfortunate and longstanding reputation of having the highest suicide rate in the nation. At 30.5 deaths by suicide per 100,000 persons, the Equality State’s suicide rate is nearly double the national average of 13.5 per 100,000.
This mental health crisis goes hand-in-hand with increasing rates of substance abuse disorder throughout the nation and within Wyoming’s borders. A 2020 survey by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center found that 17% of Wyoming residents used alcohol slightly or significantly more than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2022 Laramie County Community Health Needs Assessment identified a healthcare system with increased access to comprehensive care as a priority community need and declared the county a Healthcare Provider Shortage Area for Behavioral Health Professionals.
There are currently only four regional crisis stabilization providers in the state, with a total of 27 beds available for individuals struggling with serious mental illness. Eight of these beds are operated by Volunteers of America Northern Rockies (VOA) in Laramie County, Wyoming. At the time of this application, only two of the four crisis stabilization programs are open and serving clients.
May 2023 - Demolition of the existing building began
August 2023 - Equipment to arrive on site
September 2023 - Construction begins
May 2024 - Landscaping work begins
Fall 2024 - Expected completion date is dependent on many factors and will be updated as the project advances
These issues necessitate a continuum of care that offers comprehensive mental healthcare and effective addiction treatment to Wyomingites struggling with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorder. VOA is responding to our state’s twin mental health and substance abuse crises by constructing a new residential healthcare facility on a Cheyenne, Wyoming campus. This facility will be located adjacent to VOA’s outpatient mental health clinic in Cheyenne, and will increase total crisis beds offered by VOA in Southeast Wyoming from six to eight. In addition, the second floor of this new building will include 25 male and 15 female addiction treatment beds, and four social detoxification beds. This capital project will be completed in a timely and efficient manner, and occupancy of the relevant programs in their designated spaces within the building is expected to begin Fall of 2024.
This capital project will also provide much-needed support to priority populations such as pregnant/parenting intravenous drug users and support a continuum of care for a rising number of clients with cooccurring serious mental illness and substance use disorder. After one year of operations in our new facility, VOA’s crisis stabilization program, male and female SUD treatment beds, and social detox services will impact the lives of 300 Wyoming citizens. This project will primarily serve individuals living in southeast Wyoming due to proximity; however, these services will be available to any Wyoming resident in need of crisis stabilization and/or addiction treatment.