There’s a push for the state to make more of an effort to prevent suicides in Wisconsin. Suicide claims an average of 650 lives each year in Wisconsin; almost three times the statewide homicide rate. In addition, Shel Gross of Mental Health America says nearly 9,000 Wisconsinites are treated as a result of injuries from failed suicide attempts. In 2006, the medical costs from those injuries totaled $64 million.
Gross says barriers to mental health care are a major problem. Mental illness is a leading factor in those who attempt suicide, and Gross says a lack of care in many communities only makes the problem much worse.
Communities also need to help the public recognize the signs that a person may be suicidal. Gross says educational efforts are needed to help make people more aware of suicidal behaviors. Gross says the families of many suicide victims only recognize the signs after it’s too late.
In Wisconsin, the greatest number of suicide deaths was among 35-54-year-old males. Veterans account for nearly 20-percent of all suicides, much as they do nationally. For attempted suicides, youth between the ages of 15-24 had the highest rate of hospital visits.