Prevent Suicide Wisconsin (PSW) is a statewide public-private partnership whose mission is to reduce the number of people who attempt and/or die by suicide in Wisconsin. By working together we seek to:
  • Provide hope to people with lived experience of suicide.
  • Build community with those working to prevent suicide.
  • Strengthen the resources available to reduce suicides.
PSW grew out of a statewide strategic planning retreat held in 2009. Among the recommendations of that process were:
  • Create a statewide “brand” for suicide prevention to raise visibility for our efforts.
  • Create a leadership structure incorporating the variety of stakeholders involved in suicide prevention.
  • Create a statewide coordinator for suicide prevention.

PSW became the “brand” and a steering committee was created to provide the leadership structure. Mental Health America of Wisconsin (MHA), in its role as a grantee of the Department of Health Services, coordinates the steering committee and serves as the coordinator for suicide prevention.

Suicide prevention in Wisconsin is driven by the Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy (WSPS), which consists of four goals:

  1. Increase and enhance protective factors;
  2. Increase access to care for at-risk populations;
  3. Implement best practices for suicide prevention within the health care system;
  4. Improve monitoring and evaluation of suicide prevention activities.

MHA works with the PSW Steering Committee to promote implementation of the goals and objectives of the WSPS through the following activities: 

  • Maintenance of a website with statewide resources.
  • Dissemination of a monthly eNewsletter.
  • Organization of an annual conference.
  • Provision of trainings, such as the Zero Suicide trainings and conference presentations.
  • Support for the Maternal and Child Health adolescent suicide prevention learning community.
  • Support and consultation to local suicide prevention coalitions and other organizations interested in suicide prevention.

The PSW Steering Committee is made up of individuals representing local suicide prevention coalitions, universities and colleges, peer run respites, organizations representing groups with disproportionate risk of suicide (e.g. Tribal communities, veteran organizations) and other mental health and suicide prevention advocacy groups. In addition key state agencies with responsibility for suicide prevention are represented: the Department of Health Services/ Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders and Division of Public Health; Office of Children’s Mental Health; Department of Public Instruction; and Department of Corrections. Anyone with an interest in suicide prevention is welcome to join the Steering Committee, which meets four times per year (once for a day-long, face-to-face planning meeting and three times via teleconference). If you are interested in learning more about this please contact Leah at leahr@mhawisconsin.org.