Recently I met with constituent Janelle Moneypenny from Fall Creek and her friend who were visiting the State Capitol as advocates for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
They came to my office to talk about the issue of suicide and its impact throughout the state.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, more than 700 Wisconsinites die by suicide every year with the highest rate of suicide in adult males aged 45 to 54.
This alarming statistic is why the Speaker of the Assembly appointed Representative Joan Ballweg to be the Chairwoman for a special legislative committee to address the rising suicide rates in the state.
The taskforce will hold hearings around the state to get input from suicide survivors, experts, and families of those affected.
Their mission is to:
- Evaluate our state’s current resources and programs dedicated to suicide prevention and awareness; identifying where needs are not being met and where improvements can be made.
- Identify opportunities to target and assist especially at-risk individuals, such as farmers and youth.
- Explore ways to better harness the use of technology to reach and understand vulnerable populations.
- Find ways to incentivize the use of evidence-based programs and protocols.
- Investigate treatment and support services options; eliminate barriers that hinder individuals from receiving care.
Going forward this committee is expected to make its recommendations by fall so the state can continue its works in stopping this disturbing trend.
Please review a number of resources the state has at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/mh/suicideprev.htm
If you’re concerned about someone, talk in private. Listen to their story, let them know you care and MAKE SURE to ask them directly about suicide.
If a person says they are thinking about suicide, take them seriously. Someone considering suicide is experiencing a life-threatening health crisis.
Work with them to keep them safe and remind them that their life matters and that their suffering is temporary.
If they are considering harming themselves in any way offer to take them to the nearest ER immediately.
Be sure to follow up with them to see how they’re doing.
If you’re struggling, don’t be ashamed. Please, talk to someone and tell them exactly how you are feeling.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or better yet, text the crisis text line at 741741. It is confidential.
Do not be afraid to seek treatment and tell your doctor what you’re going through.