WellDog announced today that its encouraging its employees, directors, partners, suppliers and customers to support suicide prevention efforts in its headquarter regions of Australia and Wyoming.   Suicide remains the leading cause of death among Australians aged 15 to 34, and the leading cause of death for Australian men under 44 years of age.  Wyoming had the highest suicide rate in the United States in 2011.  Suicide remains the leading cause of death among its youth.

“While Australia and Wyoming share many positive traits like fierce individualism and valuable natural resources, we also share the unfortunate distinction of having extraordinarily high suicide rates,” said John M. Pope, Ph.D., president and CEO of WellDog.  “Please join us in supporting organizations that are working to reduce suicide in our communities. And during the holiday season, please reach out to people that may feel isolated in order to remind them that they are not.”

As part of the initiative, the company is donating money in support of two Wyoming suicide prevention organizations, as well as sponsoring a Ride for Youth effort by Simon Ashton, a non-executive director, scheduled for March in Western Australia.

The Hawaiian Ride for Youth is one of Australia’s premier charity events. Held annually over 5 days in March, the riders travel from Albany to Perth covering over 700kms to raise money for Youth Focus.  Whilst cycling through the towns of Walpole, Pemberton, Busselton, Bunbury, Frankland River, Bridgetown, Collie and Mandurah the riders visit high schools to engage students in the issues of youth suicide, depression and self harm. More information is available at www.rideforyouth.com.au.  Donations can be made at http://www.rideforyouth.com.au/riders/corporate-evolution/simon-ashton.

Grace for 2 Brothers Foundation was formed by BJ Ayers in Cheyenne, Wyoming in November of 2009 following the death of her oldest son, Beau Wagner.  Although Beau completed suicide on August 4th, 2009, Ayer’s personal and intense grief journey started several years earlier with the death of her youngest son, Brett, who had completed suicide on December 1, 2005 at the age of 19.  More information on providing financial and volunteer support is available at www.gracefor2brothers.com.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide. In September 2012, a Wyoming chapter of AFSP was established. With a board of about 20 members from across Wyoming, the chapter supplements and supports the suicide prevention efforts of the Wyoming Department of Health and grassroots initiatives across the state. Information regarding the national organization can be obtained at www.afsp.org. More information on providing financial and volunteer support to the Wyoming chapter can be obtained by emailing hastingsvanessa@gmail.com.

“Many other excellent organizations in both regions are also actively addressing the underlying causes of suicide and how to prevent it,” said Pope.  “How you get involved in this critical issue is less important than the fact that you do.”