A legislative panel is out with recommendations to prevent suicide in Wisconsin. State Representative Joan Balweg chairs the Speakers Task Force on Suicide Prevention, which held a series of public hearings around the state.
“In 2017, 918 individuals died by suicide in Wisconsin. Nearly 5,000 others made a suicide attempt. It’s clear that we must do more.”
Recommendations include a request to fund an existing text and app based, 24 hour suicide prevention hotline, and creation of a statewide suicide prevention program and additional staff within the Department of Health Services, with a director to oversee the effort.
“Our recommendations include asking the Joint Finance Committee to release dollars reserved for a text-based suicide prevention hotline, to the Department of Health Services,” Ballweg said. That would be $110,000 annually to support the Crisis Text Line, which is 741741. The state does not currently provide such funding.
State Representative Steve Doyle, the task force vice-chair, said even more needs to be considered. “One of the things that I’d like to see us look at is having 24/7 state-based helplines, hope lines, so that we have people in Wisconsin talking to people who are considering suicide in Wisconsin.”
If you or someone you know is struggling, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.273.8255 or text “HOPELINE” to 741741.