Cheyenne Suicide Prevention Group Employee Tells Woman To Jump Off A Bridge

A verbal altercation that reportedly had an employee of a Cheyenne suicide prevention organization telling someone to jump off a bridge has led to many calls for her to be fired.

Clair McFarland

April 12, 20234 min read

Grace For 2 Brothers in Cheyenne.
Grace For 2 Brothers in Cheyenne. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A suicide prevention group in Cheyenne has been taking heat after one of its staffers reportedly told the group’s former director to jump off a bridge.  

Cecelia Bay, community engagement director for Grace For 2 Brothers suicide prevention group, is reported to have had a public altercation with Rhianna Brand, who served the organization as director of operations from 2014-2020.  

Brand told Cowboy State Daily that Bay approached her at a speed-networking event about two weeks ago with an unpleasant demeanor. She claims Bay began attacking her verbally and eventually told her to jump off a bridge.  

Brand on Wednesday said she was still struggling from the incident.   

“It’s never OK to tell someone to take their life,” said Brand, adding that she’s tried to take her own life three times in the past and has lost loved ones to suicide. “This has caused me a lot of mental distress.”  

Some Cheyenne residents have taken to Facebook calling for the group to fire Bay, including two people who confirmed to Cowboy State Daily that they did not witness the altercation.  

“That’s a fireable offense, in my opinion,” said Dallas Tyrrell, a business owner in Cheyenne who knows Brand.

Tyrrell said he doubts that the group will fire Bay, however, because Bay’s husband Jeremy is the Grace For 2 Brothers executive director.  

Tyrrell said he did not witness the confrontation. 

Jon Puls, a Cheyenne businessman who was sitting next to Brand at the event, said he caught bits of the altercation, but it happened next to his deaf left ear. He heard some mention of a bridge and watched Bay stand, yell and walk angrily away, he said, but couldn’t decipher the rest.  

He said Brand left soon afterward.

Cecelia Bay
Cecelia Bay (Facebook)

Charged Social Media Talk

Bay could not be reached for comment. Grace For 2 Brothers declined to transfer Cowboy State Daily to Bay’s phone, and board member Maurina Venturelli said that Bay will not comment at this time.  

Venturelli said that the altercation was a misunderstanding that has been blown out of proportion, in particular by the charged group mentality that Facebook and other social media sites enable.  

“I feel like there’s not (an effort to) seek to understand the full story,” said Venturelli. “It is unfortunate that nobody has sort of come in the defense of a general adult conversation. Or conversation in general.”  

Venturelli said she was not at the event, but she’s seen “the variable of misunderstanding” grow with social media engagement.  

“CC (Bay) has her master’s degree in social work. She’s completely passionate about what she does, helping people, saving lives, and it’s incredibly unfortunate that this happened,” said Venturelli. “There’s a lot of context, I think … that was either not heard or not understood.”  

The Statement 

Grace For 2 Brothers on Monday posted a statement saying its board conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and undertook “the appropriate internal steps to address the matter.”  

The organization views the incident as serious, the statement continues, and regrets its involvement, but “we also view the situation as an opportunity for improvement.”  

Brand rebuked this phrasing, telling Cowboy State Daily that the organization should apologize to her and not treat the altercation like a learning opportunity.  

Venturelli said the organization does want to reach out to Brand.  

“Going forward, we are resolved to do better and with the full implementation of (a new conflict resolution training) we are confident we can do so,” the statement says.   

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter