Suicide is a public health issue in Wisconsin. 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.
Suicide in Wisconsin: Impact and Response is a 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 suicide and self-harm injuries 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.
Know the risk factors
Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. They can't cause or predict a suicide attempt, but they're important to be aware of.
- Mental health conditions, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
- Alcohol and other substance use disorders
- Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
- History of trauma or abuse
- Major physical illnesses
- Previous suicide attempt(s)
- Family history of suicide
- Job or financial loss
- Loss of relationship(s)
- Easy access to lethal means
- Local clusters of suicide
- Lack of social support and sense of isolation
- Stigma associated with asking for help
- Lack of health care, especially mental health and substance use treatment
- Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
- Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and internet)
Know the warning signs
Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
Five action steps for helping someone in emotional pain
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Get help now
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
HOPELINE Text Service
Text HOPELINE to 741741
Veterans Crisis Line
800-273-8255 (press 1)
LGBTQ+ Crisis Line
County Crisis Lines:
Use this directory
Life Threatening Emergency
Anyone can be struggling with suicide
Select an option below for more specific resources.
Prevent Suicide Wisconsin is the umbrella organization for suicide prevention efforts in Wisconsin. The Prevent Suicide Wisconsin Steering Committee includes representatives from state agencies, local suicide prevention coalition leaders, and local health departments, as well as people with lived experience of suicide. This group meets quarterly and provides oversight to Wisconsin's suicide prevention efforts, including programs supported by both state and federal funding.
Wisconsin Lifeline is a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call center serving all of Wisconsin. Callers who are suicidal or in emotional distress can call for free and receive confidential phone support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The phone counselors at Wisconsin Lifeline are trained in crisis intervention. Counselors may help connect callers with local resources and offer follow-up to help support continued coping needs. Callers can connect to Wisconsin Lifeline by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 from any phone with a Wisconsin area code. For more information, visit the Wisconsin Lifeline website.
Join the Safe Person campaign
Safe Person campaign members commit to uphold seven promises. Learn the seven promises and get a decal to show your commitment to non-judgmental listening and support.
- American Association of Suicidology
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- JED Foundation
- National Organization of People of Color Against Suicide
- National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Suicide Awareness and Voices of Education
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- Suicide Safe App for Mobile Devices
- Trevor Project - Support for LGBTQ Youth
- Veterans Crisis Line
- Zero Suicide in Health and Behavioral Health Care