Zero Suicide in Wisconsin

Call for Applications: Wisconsin Zero Suicide Training
June 22-23, UW Fond du Lac

Mental Health America of Wisconsin (MHA) is pleased to announce the release of applications for our 2017 Wisconsin Zero Suicide Training, which will be held in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin on June 22 & 23.

Zero Suicide Training is a two-day training for senior leaders of health and behavioral health care organizations that seek to dramatically reduce suicides among patients in their care including patients with serious mental health disorders.

Information about eligibility, resources and application instructions can be found in the application.

Please note these key dates:

Feb. 22         Application released    
March 13      Applicant teleconference
March 31      Application due
April 21        Organizational self-study due
April 26        Applicants notified of their status
June 22-23   Zero Suicide Training conducted

Download Application (PDF) >>

We are pleased to announce that the Zero Suicide Organizational Self-Study and Zero Suicide Workforce Survey are now available in electronic format. Links to both of these resources are found in the top right area of the Zero Suicide website home page.

The link for the Zero Suicide Organizational Self-Study will direct you to an online portal in which to enter your responses, as well as to a PDF version of the Self-Study and recommendations for completing the Self-Study. As a reminder, the Organizational Self-Study is designed to assess what components of the comprehensive Zero Suicide approach are currently in place and the degree to which the components are embedded within key clinical areas. The Organizational Self-Study also helps to assess both organizational- and clinical-specific strengths and opportunities for development across each of the seven dimensions of Zero Suicide. We recommend taking the Self-Study annually. Once your organization enters data in to the online portal, you will receive an annual email reminding you to retake the Self-Study.

The link for the Zero Suicide Workforce Survey will direct you to a web page with a link to the Online Workforce Survey Request Form and other materials intended to support administration of the updated Workforce Survey. The Request Form should be completed by individuals who are ready to enter into the final stages of planning to make the survey available to their organization. Once the Request Form is submitted the individual requesting the survey for their organization will receive additional information, including a survey link to distribute to staff, in 7 – 10 business days. The Zero Suicide Workforce Survey has been updated to provide more detailed information, and is one tool your organization can use to assess staff self-perception of their knowledge, comfort, and confidence in interacting with patients who may be at risk for suicide. It can also assist your implementation team in designing and prioritizing training needs.

About Zero Suicide

Prevent Suicide Wisconsin, along with other state, organizational and corporate entities have embraced the notion of Zero Suicide. There has been a lot of buzz in the media and in the medical community about “Zero Suicide”.  In many cases, it has been either ignored or laughed at. “There is no such thing as zero suicides. We can’t stop them all.” Or, “Why set a goal that is unattainable?”

But, let’s look at it another way. If we don’t have a goal of ZERO, what number should it be? Should we say that dropping the number of suicides in Wisconsin from over 750 per year to 650 is acceptable? Or 500? How about 300?  Of course, dropping the number is a good thing – but what about those families and loved ones of those who still die by suicide? Do they see that?

Zero Suicide is a basic commitment to suicide prevention in the healthcare and behavioral healthcare systems. Zero Suicide is based on a systematic approach to quality improvement; it does not rely on the heroic efforts of individual clinicians but rather the conscientious and consistent use of specific tools and strategies throughout organizations.  Just as health systems have been able to initiate systematic practices and policies that alleviate medical errors and falls, the Zero Suicide Model can and has reduced the number of suicides by individuals. 

The Henry Ford Health System in Michigan has shown great success with this initiative.  There, a team of those involved with patient care and quality improvement were able to develop its Perfect Depression Care Model, making suicide prevention its primary goal. By use of promising and evidence-based practices, HFHS was able to reduce the suicide rate among plan members by 80 percent.

Intrigued by the results of the Perfect Depression Care Model, Mental Health America of Wisconsin put together two separate teams to spend a few days at HFHS for a Perfect Depression Care Academy training. Each team consisted of two to three people from organizations around the state with the plan that they would return to their facilities and begin initiating these practices in their own systems. The organizations were varied; from small private behavioral health clinics, to a large multi-county public system provider, to full service health systems.

MHA Wisconsin thoroughly believes that the Perfect Depression Care approach is a strong, proven way to help Wisconsin in its goal of Zero Suicide and will support efforts in the state. The first Wisconsin State Zero Suicide Training was held at the Prevent Suicide Wisconsin Annual Conference in Stevens Point in  April 2015.  This training was supported by grant funding from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Future training sessions are already in planning stages. Watch for upcoming promotions.

Suicide Care Training Options

Quick Guide to Getting Started

Data Elements Worksheet

Work-Plan Template


WSZSA contacts

Shel Gross, Director of Public Policy -

WSZSA Groups/References

Coming soon.

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Wisconsin Coalitions & Crisis Lines

Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy

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