Climb Wyoming has been featured in the latest episode of “A State of Mind,” a Wyoming PBS documentary series that explores Wyoming’s mental health crisis from different angles.
The 30-minute feature, titled “The Climb Out,” shares the story of Megan, a Laramie Climb graduate who came to the program to start a new chapter in her life after struggles with addiction and depression. Megan’s Climb job placement as a claims resolution specialist at Ivinson Memorial Hospital is also covered in the episode as Megan shares how impactful it has been to feel valued and respected in her workplace.
Stephannie Teini, Climb’s mental health provider in Laramie, talks in-depth about Climb’s mental-health based approach and how it helps participants gain long-term employment. “We have success when we support moms with their mental health,” Stephannie says of Climb’s therapeutic model that helps heal the traumatic impact poverty can have on brain functioning. “We want to support moms staying on the job, so we work with them on rewiring their brains. This often means slowing down and responding instead of reacting.”
The documentary also features Climb’s Chief Operating Officer, Molly Kruger, who holds a master’s degree in community counseling. Molly addresses the direct correlation between poverty and mental health issues and how Climb’s approach builds new neural pathways and improved executive functioning skills. “The mental health aspect is a critical tool for poverty alleviation,” Molly says. “We also connect moms to critical resources like food and shelter so they can activate a different part of their brain that focuses on organization, planning, and problem solving.”
Korin Schmidt, Director of the Wyoming Department of Family Services, as well as Chief Justice Kate M. Fox with the Wyoming Supreme Court, discuss how Wyoming’s mental health crisis impacts Wyoming families, especially single moms who experience the highest rates of poverty among families in Wyoming. “We know that people struggling with mental health issues tend to isolate themselves,” says Schmidt. She says that Climb’s group counseling gives moms an opportunity for positive connections and a critical sense of community. She believes the mental health support participants find at Climb is a unique and effective way to stabilize families and strengthen the next generation.
Megan hopes that, by sharing her story, other single moms can find support, too. “I want to make a difference in other single moms’ lives,” says Megan. “I want them to know that they can make it through it.”