GILLETTE — Austin Rosenau was supposed to meet his mother at Mount Pisgah Cemetery earlier this month.
It wasn’t a special occasion, per se. And it certainly wasn’t an issue that he missed their afternoon meeting, because there will be plenty more.
Rather, it served as a reminder of how close they now are, as well as just how much their family has changed over the past few years.
That’s because just about every day, his mother, Lana Dicus, visits the hand-picked headstone of her daughter, Tristan, who died by suicide more than a year ago. Now that Austin, his wife Autumn and daughter Aspyn have returned to Gillette from Rock Springs, he can be there beside his mother, remembering their loss together.
He and Autumn are both 29 years old and in the middle of three generations of a family that calls Gillette home. After their own past struggles with mental health and substance abuse, their focus is on living a clean life and raising their daughter to avoid similar missteps.
Aspyn is a happy and healthy 7-year-old, unaware of the lives her parents lived before she was born and the family history she has inherited.
But as parents who have navigated the community mental health resources themselves, they hold the challenge of helping their own child traverse that landscape, or help prevent the need from ever arising.
“Now I’m also trying to break that cycle of these other things that may have stigmas attached, mental health being one of them with my child,” Austin said.
The increased demand for mental health services for adults in Gillette has trended similarly for children and adolescents as well. A similar question of whether there are more problems developing or more people aware of treatment options also looms over the recent uptick.
The mental health problems facing some children this past year haven’t necessarily been new problems, said Lexie Honey, a social worker at the Kid Clinic. Yet the volume of patient visits and referrals is noticeably higher.
Depression, anxiety, ADHD and other behavioral problems have continued to affect children and adolescents, but more have sought help in Gillette this past year. Meanwhile, the number of counselors, therapists and available resources have stayed relatively stable, leading to long …….