By Debbie Millman
Suicide continues to be a big concern for Wisconsin. In the Department of Health Services report, “The Burden of Suicide on Wisconsin: 2007-2011”, the average number of suicides in our state in the years covered was 724. Some key findings from the report included:
- The highest rate of suicide during this time period was among people between the ages of 45 and 54.
- Teens and young adults had the highest rates of hospital visits for self-inflicted injuries.
- Whites and American Indians had the highest rates of suicide; yet high school students of racial and ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely than their White peers to report suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
- Lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens were more likely to report poor mental health, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal behaviors than their heterosexual peers.
- Of the suicides with known circumstances, 51 percent had a current mental health problem, 35 percent had problems with an intimate partner, 26 percent had an alcohol problem, 23 percent had physical health problems, and 21 percent had job problems.
You can access a full copy of this report here:
We all know the suicide rate in our county is a problem. So, what can we do about it? Here are a few ideas:
1. Join the efforts of our local suicide prevention coalition. You can find more information about coalition efforts here: www.preventsuicidecolumbiacounty.org
2. Attend a QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention training. The next one is scheduled for 9/30 from 6-8 p.m. at the Columbia County Law Enforcement Center in Portage. It is free and open to the public.
3. Get familiar with the mental health resources in our county so you have good information to give someone who is struggling. This information can also be found at: www.preventsuicidecolumbiacounty.org
4. Take the time to listen to someone who is struggling. Don’t be afraid to talk about suicide. Suicide is more likely to occur when it is kept a secret.
5. Talk to someone if you are struggling. Don’t suffer in silence. Hope is powerful and we all need it! Talking to someone and opening up can give you hope.
The crisis line for Columbia County is: 1-888-552-6642. This number will connect you with a trained crisis worker from Northwest Connections. Northwest staff will also connect you with a county social worker who will assist you with finding the help you need after the crisis is over.