September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Suicide is a serious and preventable public health problem. Suicide takes life without regard to age, income, education, social standing, race, or gender. In Winnebago County, we’ve seen relatively high rates of suicide compared to state and national averages. The ripple effect of suicide continues long after the death, impacting grieving loved ones and communities.
However, we all can play a role in protecting friends, family members, and colleagues from suicide. September is National Suicide Prevention Month and a reminder that we’re all in this fight together. All month long, mental health advocates, prevention organizations, people affected by suicide, and allies unite to promote suicide prevention awareness.
Here are several ways to join our efforts in Winnebago County and across Wisconsin.
- NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is a great place to start.
- Become a QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Gatekeeper: For more information about QPR and where to attend a QPR Gatekeeper training, check out Community for Hope in Oshkosh.
- Other ways to help someone in crisis:
- Remove means such as guns, knives or stockpiled pills.
- Calmly ask simple and direct questions, such as “Can I help you call your psychiatrist?”
- Talk openly and honestly about suicide. Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” or “Do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?”
- Ask what you can do to help.
- Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
- For more tips, check out https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-someone-else
- Share stories of hope, healing, and recovery. If you’ve experienced mental health challenges, share your story and let people know they’re not alone. Recovery is possible.
- Winnebago County Crisis Intervention Helpline: Oshkosh- 920-233-7707 / Neenah- 920-722-7707
- Crisis Text Line: provides free, confidential, 24/7 support by text [text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the U.S.].
- Find other mental health and substance use treatment options in Brown, Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties at MyConnectionNEW.org
- If you or someone you know might be considering suicide and don’t know what to do, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They have trained counselors available 24/7 to speak or chat with either you or your loved one.
- All signs of suicide should be taken seriously. If you think your friend or family member will hurt herself or someone else, call 911 immediately.
- The Zero Suicide Coalition (Winnebago, Outagamie, and Calumet counties) brings together mental health providers and community members and organizations to work toward zero suicides in our area. Contact Lynnsey Erickson to get involved locally.
- The N.E.W. (Northeast WI) Mental Health Connection is a member organization that strives to improve the mental health system of care in Outagamie, Winnebago, and Calumet counties. One of the N.E.W. Mental Health Connection’s initiatives is Healthy Teen Minds, which has partnered with six local high schools to adopt “Sources of Strength,” an evidence-based suicide prevention and comprehensive wellness program.
We all have a role to play. Together, we can save lives.