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Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy

 

State of Wisconsin

Department of Health and Family Services


Scott McCallum, Governor

Phyllis J. Dube, Secretary

 

May 14, 2002

To the Citizens of Wisconsin:

This document is the Department of Health and Family Services’ Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy.  It was developed in response to the former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher’s Call To Action to Prevent Suicide (1999), in which he stated that the problems of suicide and suicide prevention are critical public health priorities for our nation.  Suicide claimed the lives of nearly  600 Wisconsin residents in the year 2000 alone.  It is a major public health problem in the state.

Many dedicated individuals from public and private sectors of our state contributed to the development of the Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy, providing guidelines to assist  communities in developing their own suicide awareness and prevention campaigns.   

We live in an era of unprecedented scientific knowledge and health care technology.  Research shows that effective clinical care for mental, physical and substance use disorders provides significant protective factors in preventing suicide.  The Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy lists goals and intervention objectives based on scientific evidence that can have a direct impact on suicide prevention efforts. 

The Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy provides guidelines for us to come together in Public-private collaborations to address the critical public health problem of suicide in Wisconsin.  Suicide prevention is a priority in our state.   

Sincerely,

Phyllis J. Dube`
Secretary


 

Developed By:

 The Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services
Division of Public Health and Division of Supportive Living

 

Principal Editors:

Joanne Berman, RN, BSN
Bureau of Community Mental Health

 

Linda J. Hale, RN, BSN, EMT
Bureau of Emergency Medical Services & Injury Prevention

 

Susan Conlin Opheim
Helping Others Prevent and Educate about Suicide, HOPES

Suicide Prevention Advocates Network, SPAN

 

Contributing Editor:

Susan Connors, CICSW
Bureau of Community Mental Health

 

Contributing DHFS Participants:

 Sinikka McCabe, Division of Supportive Living

John Chapin, Division of Public Health

Linda Huffer, Division of Supportive Living

Sharon L. Lidberg, Bureau of Family and Community Health

Gail Chapman, Office of Strategic Finance

Vinod Daniel, Epidemiologist, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services & Injury Prevention

 

For More Information, Please Contact:

HOPES

Phone: (608) 274-9686
Email: info@hopes-wi.org

Joanne Berman, Bureau of Community Mental Health,

Phone: (608) 261-6750
Email: bermajk@dhfs.state.wi.us

Linda Hale, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services & Injury Prevention,

Phone: (608) 267-7174,
Email: halelj@dhfs.state.wi.us

 

Information about this document is available
on the following web pages:
www. HOPES-wi.org and www.dhfs.state.wi.us/dph_emsip/index.htm


 

Acknowledgements

We wish to acknowledge the work of the following people, including those who served on the Prevention Initiative Workgroup, who provided input into the Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy:

Eloiza Altoro-Acevedo, C.P.P., Director of Community Outreach, Mental Health Association in Milwaukee County

Michael Calvert, Student Intern, Bureau of Community Mental Health, University of Wisconsin, School of Social Work

Gail Chapman, Assistant Area Administrator, Northern Region, Office of Strategic Finance, WI DHFS

Jessica Davis, Needs Development Specialist, Division of Children and Family Services, WI DHFS

Nic Dibble, MSW, Health and Wellness Team, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Mary Jean Erschen, RN EMT, Emergency Medical Services for Children, Bureau of EMS & Injury Prevention, Division of Public Health, WI DHFS, and NAMI of Wisconsin Board Member

The Goltz Seering Agency, Inc., Green Bay

Shel Gross, Director of Public Policy, Mental Health Association in Milwaukee County

Oren Hammes, ACSW, CICSW, Criminal Justice and Clinical Coordinator, Bureau of Substance
Abuse Services, WI DHFS

Chris Hanna, MPH, Director, National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health & Safety, Marshfield

George Hulick, MSW, Clinical Consultant, Bureau of Community Mental Health, WI DHFS

Sharon L. Lidberg, School Age and Adolescent Coordinator, Bureau of Family and Community Health, Division of Public Health, WI DHFS

David Mays, MD, Director of Forensic Services, Mendota Mental Health Institute, Division of Care Treatment Facilities, WI DHFS

National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, US Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, PhD

Carrie Nie, MPH, Firearm Injury Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Marty Ordinans, Director, Office of Detention Facilities, WI Department of Corrections

Lisa Ott, EMT-P, Education and Training, American Medical Response (AMR), Ft. Atkinson

Jerry and Elsie Weyrauch, SPAN USA, Georgia Plan for Suicide Prevention  

Laurie Woods, MS, Violent Injury Reporting System, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee



The Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy

Table of Contents

Foreword

4

Executive Summary

5

Part 1: Introduction

6

Overview of the Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy

6

The Problem of Suicide in Wisconsin

7

The Public Health Approach for Suicide Prevention

8

Using the Public Health Approach to Suicide Prevention

9

Part 2: Goals, Objectives and Ideas for Action

10

Part 3: Looking Ahead

21

Web Resources on Suicide and Suicide Prevention

22

References

25

Appendix A: Risk and Protective Factors for Suicide

27

Appendix B: Development of the Wisconsin Suicide Prevention

28

Appendix C: Glossary of Terms

29

 


The Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy

Foreword

Suicide is a major public health problem in Wisconsin. It is the second leading cause of death for Wisconsin young people and the tenth leading cause of death for all ages. Our state suicide rate is three times greater than the state homicide rate. In 2000, 588 people died of suicide in Wisconsin.

The problem of suicide is so extensive that someone in the United States commits suicide every 17 minutes. Half a million Americans are taken to hospitals every year because of suicide attempts. One in five people with major depression in the United States attempts suicide, and, even more striking, one in two people with manic depressive illness attempts suicide.

The Department of Health and Family Services, Divisions of Public Health and Supportive Living are committed to addressing the problem of suicide in Wisconsin. The cost of suicide in Wisconsin is significant, both in dollar and human terms. The majority of suicides are of people in the prime of their working lives. Suicide and suicide attempts exact an incalculable toll on family, friends and loved ones. In response to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Suicide, we are participating in the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention by developing a guide for suicide prevention that addresses the needs of Wisconsin residents. Research and science of the past decade provide us with strategies to save lives by applying new knowledge in rational ways. Suicide can be prevented.

The Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy (the Wisconsin Strategy) provides a framework for getting every interested person in Wisconsin involved in preventing suicide. The Wisconsin Strategy is designed to guide individuals, agencies and organizations in local communities and at regional and state levels in suicide prevention efforts. The Strategy seeks to change knowledge and attitudes about suicide. It seeks to promote suicide prevention in many of the environments in Wisconsin that touch our lives, including education, health care, media, the workplace, faith communities, and criminal justice.

The Strategy is not a mandate for services or a state directive. Rather, it is offered as a guide for developing public/private partnerships that consist of multiple organizations, agencies, and interested others. It promotes the coordination of culturally appropriate resources and services that link science and practice for the prevention of suicide.

Promoting suicide prevention for all citizens of Wisconsin requires science and knowledge but, more importantly, a community resolve to make the needed investment. The investment does not call for massive budgets, which are not available, but rather the willingness to educate others about suicide and mental illness and to implement evidence-based approaches in ways that best fit each community.

Sinikka McCabe, Administrator
Division of Supportive Living

John Chapin, Administrator
Division of Public Health


Executive Summary

Suicide is a major public health problem in Wisconsin

Almost 600 people die by suicide each year in Wisconsin. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Wisconsin young people and the tenth leading cause of death for all ages. Our state suicide rate is more than three times greater than the state homicide rate and nearly eight times greater than the number of deaths related to HIV.

These data show the need for a response by individuals and communities that have not yet recognized suicide as one of Wisconsin’s leading causes of death. The Department of Health and Family Services, as part of its mission to help Wisconsin’s citizens become independent, healthy and safe, has responded to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action by developing this guide for suicide prevention that addresses the needs of Wisconsin residents. The Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy provides a framework to guide individuals, agencies, and organizations in local communities and at regional and state levels in suicide prevention efforts.

Suicide is preventable

This document seeks to raise awareness and help make suicide prevention a statewide priority. Recognition of suicide as a public health problem, as well as the fact that the majority of persons who die by suicide have mental health or substance abuse diagnoses, is needed. Supporting use of local data on suicide and suicide attempts will be needed to develop and evaluate suicide prevention efforts. Best practices in assessment, crisis services and treatment must be available in practice to address the incidence of suicide as well as its impact on others. 

Partners in the development of this document view suicide as a public health problem and the public health approach is used as a model of action. The approach emphasizes the use of factual data about suicide in Wisconsin and the use of present research and best practice for widespread education and improvement of and access to treatment services.

The Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy document lists 11 goals with related objectives and activities that interested persons and organizations can select from to implement suicide prevention in their communities.

The 11 Goals

  1. Promote Awareness That Suicide Is A Public Health Problem That is Preventable 

  2. Develop Broad-based Support For Suicide Prevention

  3. Develop And Implement Strategies To Reduce The Stigma Associated With Being a Consumer of Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Suicide Prevention Services

  4. Develop and Implement Community-based Suicide Prevention Programs

  5. Promote Efforts To Reduce Access To Lethal Means and Methods of Self-harm

  6. Implement Training For Recognition Of At-Risk Behavior And Delivery Of Effective Treatment

  7. Develop and Promote Effective Clinical and Professional Practices

  8. Increase Community Linkages With And Access To Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

  9. Improve Reporting and Portrayals of Suicidal Behavior, Mental Illness, and Substance Abuse in the Entertainment and New Media

  10. Promote and Support Research and Evaluation on Suicide Prevention

  11. Improve and Expand Systems for Data Collection, Underscoring the Public Health Emphasis on Surveillance of Suicide and Suicidal Behavior

Like its National model, the Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy emphasizes that for any prevention activity to go forward, three things are necessary: a knowledge base, public support for change, and a strategy to accomplish change. Approaches must be community focused with leadership at the community level. Implementing the Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy requires broad participation and collaboration from each of us in our own communities.

Our challenge is to create communities where residents believe that suicide is preventable and that suicide prevention is everyone’s business!

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