LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Free counseling is available to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Campbell, Carbon and Laramie counties thanks to a program offered by the University of Wyoming Department of Psychology.

The Verizon Foundation has contributed more than $34,000 for the program, which is administered through the psychology department.

Department Head Carolyn Pepper says it's particularly challenging to provide quality mental health treatment in rural areas that lack hospital facilities.

The UW program uses secure, encrypted videoconferencing equipment so clients can receive confidential counseling without leaving their hometowns.

The program can typically connect clients with a therapist within 72 hours.