At the Casper city council pre-meeting on Tuesday, the council heard from several members of the youth empowerment council on the issues that they are trying to address in the community.

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Several members of the youth council came up to talk about the work that the council has done over the past year.

Some of those included participated in events over the past few months, such as a Wyo Amplify event on Aug. 26, volunteering at the Smoking and Soul Fest fundraiser on Sept. 2, a haunted house at Art 321, and Suicide Prevention Awareness Team (SPAT) presentations.

According to the youth council, from July 1 to Dec. 1, they provided 1020 hours of weekly meetings and volunteering, which included 702 hours of SPAT presentation.

At the Woods Learning Center, they presented to 532 students, with 93 students stating that they were more aware of local resources for student suicide, while 98% said they now know how to get help to people struggling with suicide.

The youth council stressed the importance of raising awareness over suicide due to it being the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2016, the second leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 34 in 2019, and causing a total of 47,511 deaths in 2019 overall.

Mayor Ray Pacheco said the youth council does a lot of important work for the community and he hopes to be able to increase their funding for next year.

"They're one of the few if only youth organizations that goes into the school district to do suicide prevention awareness presentations, and I think it would do us well to look at continuing to fund them," Pacheco said. "But I think we also need to look at the budget with the one-cent funding to continue to fund them but also give them a little bit more money next year as we know suicide prevention is critical, we need that, I think we need that, and I'm going to be pushing for us to fund them a little bit more this next year too. You guys rock."

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