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Governor Evers has proclaimed September as Suicide Prevention Month. Wisconsin's suicide rate increased by 40% from 2000-2017. In 2019, 850 Wisconsin residents died by suicide. Everyone can take action to prevent suicide. This month is a time to educate ourselves further on not just the risks, but also how to help prevent and de-stigmatize this growing concern. As an advocate for mental health, I encourage Wisconsinites to learn more, reach out, and watch for signs.

Five action steps for helping someone in emotional pain.

  1. Ask:  Asking the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way.
  2. Be there: This could mean being physically present for someone, speaking with them on the phone when you can, or any other way that shows support for the person at risk. Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling.
  3. Keep them safe: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
  4. Help them connect: Helping someone with thoughts of suicide connect with ongoing supports can help them establish a safety net for those moments they find themselves in a crisis. These supports could be a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
  5. Follow-up: After your initial contact with a person experiencing thoughts of suicide, and after you’ve connected them with the immediate support systems they need, make sure to follow-up with them to see how they’re doing. 
Learn more: #BeThe1To

Sincerely,

 

JON ERPENBACH
State Senator
27th District

 

Suicide in Wisconsin: Impact and Response

Suicide in Wisconsin: Impact and Response is a new report that seeks to mobilize and guide coordinated action to reduce suicide attempts and deaths. This report includes:

  • The most up-to-date picture of suicidal behavior in Wisconsin based on surveys, death records, and hospital data.
  • Four strategies and 50 opportunities for action that taken, as a whole, provide a path toward reducing suicidal behavior in Wisconsin.

Read the full report.


 

Youth Suicide Prevention 

The Office of Children’s Mental Health has announced the publication of a fact sheet which will include information about preventing youth suicide and how communities can do their part to help. Wisconsin youth suicide rates are higher than the overall national average, and something we must address. Highlights from the fact sheet have more statistics and recommendations how parents, schools, and policymakers can support the mental health of younger generations.

See the fact sheet here.

 

Find Your Adventure

The Department of Natural Resources recently announced some positive news and statistics regarding Wisconsin’s parks and services. Since mid-March, 6.4 million visits occurred at parks across the state, more campsites are being reserved, and compared to 2019, there has been an increase in purchases of fishing and turkey licenses. This has contributed $7.8 billion toward the economy and supports 93,000 jobs. The DNR encourages Wisconsin to continue embracing the outdoors as fall approaches and to visit Find Your Adventure for more information.

 

State Park Passes Available

On September 4, the Department of Natural Resources announced that daily trail and park admission passes would be available for purchase. Electronic pay stations, self-registration stations, and drive-up windows are open for credit card use while safety precautions are considered. The DNR is excited to continue adding services back, although social distancing is requested, temporary capacity restrictions are in place and towers, shelters, and nature centers remain closed.

Learn more.

 

Flu Virus and Vaccine Information

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced a funding opportunity for community outreach to increase awareness about the flu. Education on vaccines is especially important with the co-occurring Covid-19 pandemic. With only 42% of Wisconsinites getting the vaccine last year, many people were left vulnerable for contracting the virus. We all must do our part to keep communities safe and healthy, especially as we battle Covid-19 simultaneously.

Learn more.

 

Public Transit Grants

Governor Evers, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and the Wisconsin Department of Administration announced $18 million in Public Transit Grants will be distributed. Communities from Beloit to Eau Claire rely on public transport for work or school. These funds will be used to purchase 34 buses to increase the reliability and performance of the public transit system while saving cost on maintenance.

Learn more.

 

Remembering 9/11

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the 19th Anniversary of 9/11.  Governor Evers has issued a Proclamation that flags are to be flown at half-staff in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 people that lost their lives that day. Take a moment today to pay tribute to those we lost, the first responders, volunteers, and the families of the fallen. To honor those heroes, Friday has been designated a day of service to our communities. May we never forget.

 

Resources - 

During this difficult time it is worth reminding Wisconsinites that 211 exists to help when you don’t know where to turn. 211 is a resource managed by the United Way of Wisconsin. Call 2-1-1 or visit their website.

Office of Crime Victim Services

End Abuse Wisconsin 

National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233, text LOVEIS to 22522, or go to thehotline.org for free and confidential support.

Disaster Distress Hotline 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Veterans Crisis Line 

Vets for Warriors 

Military One Source 

Resilient Wisconsin

Department of Corrections Helpline: The call center can be reached by members of the public Monday through Friday from 7:45am–4:30pm at (608) 240-5700.

Wisconsin Farm Center 

24/7 Farmer Wellness Hotline

LGBTQ Crisis Line 

HopeLine Text Service 

Wisconsin Elder Abuse Hotline 

Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline 


 

Looking for additional resources? If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to my office at Sen.Erpenbach@Legis.WI.Gov, or call (608) 266-6670. 

 

 
 
Contacting My Office

Feel free to contact me with any inquiries. Please visit my website for press releases and other Capitol updates.