Suicide Prevention Resources

New Plan to Prevent Suicide in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), in partnership with Prevent Suicide Wisconsin(link is external) (PSW), released an updated Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy (WSPS) (PDF, 2.5 MB), a guide to mobilize efforts to address suicide, one of the state's most significant public health issues. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the state and the second leading cause of deaths due to injury. From 2007 to 2011, there was an average of 724 suicide deaths annually in Wisconsin.

The WSPS has four main goals:

  • Reduce the likelihood that individuals become suicidal by building social-emotional competence in children and increasing social connections for people of all ages.

  • Identify suicidal individuals and provide timely access to treatment by increasing the public's knowledge of risk factors for suicide and available support services.

  • Support suicidal individuals with the highest quality of care by increasing resources for providers to screen, assess, and treat using proven practices and improve the transition from inpatient to outpatient settings.

  • Monitor whether these strategies are making a difference by collecting data statewide on interventions and activities conducted.

Suicide 2013 High School YRBS

The youth suicide rate in Wisconsin consistently exceeds the national average. Wisconsin YRBS data indicate a downward trend in the percentage of students who report feeling sad or hopeless and those seriously considering suicide.

  • Twenty-five percent of high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row in the past 12 months.
  • During 1993-2013, a significant decrease occurred in the percentage of students who reported having seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months (27%-13%).
  • The percentage of students who reported making a plan about how they would attempt suicide decreased from 15% in 2005 to 12% in 2013.
  • Students who reported attempting suicide in the past 12 months decreased from 1999 to 2013 (8%-6%).
  • Eighty-three percent of gay, lesbian, or bisexual students reported their mental health was not good on one or more of the past 30 days vs. 54% of their heterosexual peers.

More 2013 Wisconsin YRBS Information

Understand Why Suicide Prevention Fits with Your Role as a Teacher

As a teacher, you have an important role to play. You have day-to-day contact with many young people, some of whom have problems that could result in serious injury or even death by their own hand. You are therefore able to observe students’ behavior and act when you suspect a student may be at risk of self-harm.

Teachers can also play an active role in suicide prevention by fostering the emotional well-being of all students, not just those already at high risk. Teachers are well positioned to promote a feeling of connectedness and belonging in the school community. According to the CDC (2009), school connectedness is the belief by students that adults and peers in the school care about them as individuals as well as about their learning. Connectedness is an important factor in improving academic achievement and healthy behaviors, and it is also specifically related to reductions in suicidal thoughts and attempts (Resnick et al., 1997; Blum et al., 2002).

Key Steps to Reduce Suicide Risk among Your Students:

  • Understand why suicide prevention fits with your role as a high school teacher
  • Identify students who may be at risk for suicide
  • Respond to students who may be at risk for suicide
  • Be prepared to respond to a suicide death
  • Consider becoming involved in school-wide suicide prevention

From: Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Online Resources

SAMHSA Screening Tool Links
Links to several mental health and substance abuse screening tools
Updated Gatekeeper Training Webinar
Updated Gatekeeper Training webinar and video that is linked here:
DPI Suicide Prevention
Link to DPI suicide prevention data and resources
Wisconsin Laws Addressing Youth Suicide Prevention and Intervention
Wisconsin state law establishes that schools must address suicide prevention with students. View the specifics of the law here.
Mental Health America of Wiscsonsin
Information on the impact of mental illness and resources in Wiscsonsin
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Resource for people to call to get help. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) they will be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.
Trevor Lifeline and Chat
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. The Trevor Lifeline number is 866-488-7386 or there is a chat option available.
Preventing Suicide: A toolkit for high schools
Assists high schools and school districts in designing and implementing strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health. Includes a matrix of school-based NREPP suicide prevention programs.
Screening Resources
GLAD-PC: Guidelines for Adolescent Depression - Primary Care
After a Suicide: A toolkit for schools
Downloadable guide developed by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center to assist schools in the aftermath of a suicide (or other death) in a school community.
SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
NREPP is a searchable online registry of more than 250 interventions supporting mental health promotion, substance abuse prevention, and mental health and substance abuse treatment

Resources relating to teen mental health screening are available in the public domain and can be found at the links below:

White Paper on Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) in Behavioral Healthcare

GLAD-PC: Guidelines for Adolescent Depression - Primary Care

PSC-Y – Broad Mental Health Screen

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