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West Texas Counseling and Guidance brings support to 'where the people are'

WTCG is teaming up with The Casual Pint for an event to bring awareness to suicide prevention resources.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — West Texas Counseling and Guidance Director of Development and Communications Tiffany Talley and Director of Zero Suicide Services Shelby Joseph sat at a high top in The Casual Pint discussing what needed to be done for their upcoming event.

The two mental health professionals are no strangers to being in a bar in an official capacity. They regularly hand out educational material and contact information to bargoers.

But some may ask, "Why a bar?"

The answer is simple - Joseph said WTCG doesn't wait for people to come to them.

"Well, one of the things that we do as the Zero Suicide Team is we do review losses in the community. And so one of the things that we have noticed is whenever someone is really struggling, they are often doing something impulsive. This can include drinking alcohol. It's lowering their inhibitions. We noticed some deaths, the night before they maybe were at a bar and didn't have support or people around them. And so we've decided we need to go into the community and meet people where they're at instead of expecting them to come find us," Joseph said.

Credit: West Texas Counseling and Guidance

That is how WTCG came to partner with The Casual Pint for The Darkest Pint for the Darkest Night, an event raising awareness for WTCG's Zero Suicide Initiative. The goal is to stop suicides altogether.

At the event, The Casual Pint will feature a dark brew beer - called "The Darkest Pint." Starting as soon as the doors open at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21, all the day's proceeds from that beverage will go to West Texas Counseling and Guidance, but Talley said the goal was more awareness than fundraising.

"We will have information and some swag here," Talley said. "There will also be a trivia night going on, so it'll be hustle and bustle and a lot of people that we can connect with."

Credit: Ashley Griffin

The funds raised will go to support services such as crisis appointments, which the organization offers for those in crisis completely free to the client and often the same day as they are requested.

"We'll collect their insurance, but we're not going to charge them a co-pay or anything like that, " Joseph said. "You know the expectation sometimes is, I need it, but I can't afford it."

WTCG also offers regular counseling sessions on a sliding pay scale.

"If you don't have insurance, we can definitely work with you," Talley said.

For more information on WTCG's programs, visit sanangelocounseling.org.