State working on suicide prevention plan

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Wisconsin Department of Health Services said the state’s suicide rate is up 40% from 2000 to 2017. Of all state deaths by firearm from 2013-2017, 71% were suicide deaths.

“Suicide affects far too many Wisconsin families and communities and requires a comprehensive approach to prevention that addresses the range of factors contributing to an individual’s emotional pain. Coordination and cooperation from every sector of society, including government, public health, health care, employers, education, media, and community organizations is critical for us to be effective in our prevention work,” stated DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm.

DHS released findings from its most recent analysis of state suicide deaths and suicide-related injury on Tuesday.

The analysis is part of an effort to update Wisconsin’s suicide prevention plan and reduce the number of suicide attempts and deaths. In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death among adolescents in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s updated suicide prevention plan focuses on four areas:

• Increase and enhance protective factors, including efforts that build social connections to family, friends, co-workers, therapists, faith leaders, and other supports for at-risk populations and reduce access to substances and weapons.
• Increase access to care for at-risk populations, including expanded use of smartphone apps, telehealth, and non-clinical support services.
• Implement best practices for prevention in health care systems, including tools for screening, assessment, and treatment.
• Improve surveillance of suicide and evaluation of programs, including efforts to standardize the investigating and reporting of suicide deaths.

For free, confidential emotional support and resources before a struggle becomes a crisis, call 800-273-8255 or text HOPELINE to 741741.

Sept. 10 is Suicide Prevention Day.