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DATE: December 5, 2005
TO: Local Health Department Injury Prevention Staff
FROM: Injury Prevention Team: Linda Hale (608) 267-7174 halelj@dhfs.state.wi.us; Susan  Laflash (608) 266-7457 laflasi@dhfs.state.wi.us; Randy Glysch (608) 261-6879 glyscrl@dhfs.state.wi.us

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Linda Hale (608) 267-7174 halelj@dhfs.state.wi.us.
Thank you.
P.O. Box 237
Oxford, Wisconsin 53952

Telephone:   +1 (608)586-5224

Suicide is the tenth most common cause of death in Wisconsin. Suicide rates are highest among residents over 65 years of age. Each suicide death is estimated to affect at least six other people in the family, school, workplace or community, meaning that nearly 36,000 Wisconsin residents are affected by a loved one’s suicide each year. Suicide attempts are estimated to be about 20 times the number of deaths. Many who make suicide attempts never seek professional care until immediately after the attempt.
Community wide efforts to identify those at risk of suicide and to assure that resources are in place to provide and promote accessible professional care are necessary to lower the suicide rate. Strong, broad public health initiatives to increase the public’s understanding of suicide and suicidal behaviors, and the role that individuals and groups can play in prevention are needed.
Included as attachments to this e-mail are county level numbers on suicide deaths and suicide-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits. When reviewing the data for you county, think about which groups in your communities may be interested in seeing the numbers, and who may be an important partner in developing local strategies to prevent future suicides and suicide attempts. Many are surprised at, and may be motivated to action by learning the actual numbers of suicide and suicide attempts occurring among their neighbors. Just a few of are listed below:
  •   Law Enforcement may respond to calls of suicides/attempts, but are not always involved in all   investigations.
  •   County Human Services/Mental Health/Crisis Team responsible for the county crisis response system required by each county. Also look for a county local Mental Health Association or NAMI (National Association of Mental Illness) chapter.
  •   School Systems or CESA (Cooperative Educational Service Agency, responsible for student mental health/suicide prevention curriculum development, and who may not be aware of county-wide trends.
  •   Community Groups such as businesses, Civic, parent, youth, faith-based, aging coalitions, grief counselors, support for persons with disabilities have access to some of the highest risk populations.
  •   Local coroners or medical examiners are aware of all suicide deaths in a community and may help to increase understanding of trends occurring within certain populations or in causation.
  •   EMS services, Emergency Department Staff respond and care for those who attempt or commit suicide, and have first hand knowledge of the frequency within a community as well as a commitment to prevention.
  • Primary care providers can be encouraged to include questions in their routine health care of high risk populations.
    On the following pages you will find websites for information on suicide prevention and risks. You will also find an announcement related to development of a Blue Cross/Blue Shield grant application for local funding targeted at reducing rates of suicide in Wisconsin.
    Suicide-Related Websites
    American Association of Suicidology    http://www.suicidology.org
    American Foundation of Suicide Prevention  http://www.afsp.org
    HOPES (Helping Others Prevent & Educate about Suicide)   http://www.hopes-wi.org
    SPAN (Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network)   http://www.spanusa.org
    Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program   http://www.yellowribbon.org
    National Organization of People of Color Against Suicide   http://www.nopcas.com/
    Suicide Prevention Resource Center    www.sprc.org
    Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy http://dhfs.wisconsin.gov/health/injuryprevention/SuicidePrevention.htm
    WISH (Wisconsin Interactive Statistics on Health) http://dhfs.wisconsin.gov/wish/
    Local Suicide Prevention Funding Announcement
    A grant proposal to develop infrastructure and capacity at the state, regional and local level to enhance suicide prevention efforts is being developed to submit to the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program monies (BCBS) at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
    The State Injury Prevention Program is collaborating with the Mental Health Association in Milwaukee County, the Suicide Prevention Initiative (a statewide group working on suicide prevention in Wisconsin), the regional offices (public health and human services area administrators), and the Crisis Network (a group of crisis teams/personnel from a majority of the counties in Wisconsin) to develop the grant proposal, due the middle of December. The funds from the grant would support regional and local structures to better support dissemination of evidence-based programs, practices, resources, training, and education, and a stronger coordination of activities at the state level to reverse the trend of suicide in Wisconsin.
    If you are interested in participating in the grant application process, or providing needs assessment or model program information, contact your regional office director as soon as possible.