Goal 2: Increase Access to Care for At-Risk Populations

Expand access to services for mental health and substance use disorders, as well as suicidal thoughts and behavior.

According to The Burden of Suicide in Wisconsin 2007-2011 report, 59% of suicide decedents in Wisconsin were observed in a depressed mood around the time of death. Over 50% of suicide decedents suffered from diagnosed mental health problems and 26% suffered from alcohol problems. Approximately 43% were currently receiving mental health treatment and 52% had received treatment at some point in their lives. The large percentage of suicide decedents who had engaged with mental health services suggests that Wisconsin’s mental health system is not sufficiently prepared to assist individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts or crises. On the other hand, nearly half of Wisconsin residents who died by suicide had never received mental health services. It is likely, however, that such services could have benefited these individuals. Multiple factors may contribute to a person’s decision not to seek help, including stigmatization of mental health and substance use disorders, lack of insurance, or other financial obstacles and geographical barriers to accessing care.

(See Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy, Page 16)


Wisconsin Medicaid Eligibility and Benefits

Federal Health Insurance Marketplace

Resources by County  (Mental Health America of Wisconsin website)

Wisconsin Council on Mental Health  The WCMH is the state's Governor-appointed mental health planning and advisory council. A key role of the WCMH is to advocate for expansion of access to mental health services. The website provides additional information about the WCMH and the state's mental health block grant.

State Council on Alcohol and other Drug Abuse

Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Community Mental Health Services

Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Consumer Health Information

Decrease stigma associated with help-seeking, mental health and substance use disorders, and suicide through evidence-based and best practices, including contact with people in recovery.

Stigma and discrimination against people with mental health and substance use disorders remain significant barriers to care. On one hand, individuals experiencing problems may not want to view themselves as suffering from a mental health or substance use disorder because of the negative connotations associated with such diagnoses. As a result, they may fail to seek care. Ultimately, their condition may deteriorate to the point at which they become suicidal. On the other hand, those who do seek care may experience distancing from individuals in their lives and other forms of discrimination because their mental health or substance use issues have been identified.

(See Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy, Page 18)


WISE – Wisconsin Initiative for Stigma Elimination

WISE is a statewide coalition of organizations and individuals promoting inclusion and support for all affected by mental illness by advancing evidence-based practices for stigma reduction efforts. People with lived experience of mental health challenges strategically sharing their story is the current, primary, evidence-based practice and drives the focus of WISE.

Honest, Open, Proud (HOP): To Eliminate the Stigma of Mental Illness (a program of WISE)

HOP is a workbook for small group discussion or personal use. It helps you to look at the story you have been telling yourself, discern helpful and hurtful self-attitudes, and analyze the pros and cons of disclosing in different settings to different people. Lastly, it guides you to draft your own story into a format that discloses not only the pain of mental health challenges but also the internal and external resources you discovered and use to live your life in the way you choose. HOP comes in three versions: Adult, college age, and high school age. For more information or to schedule a training, contact WISE.

WUMH - Wisconsin United for Mental Health - A public-private partnership working to reduce stigma

Increase the public’s knowledge of risk factors for suicide, recognition of suicide warning signs, and preparedness to respond to suicidal individuals.

Research has identified many risk factors that can contribute to suicide. In Wisconsin, these include mental health problems, substance use disorders, physical health problems, intimate partner and other relationship problems, job and financial problems, and personal crises. In addition, people who have been divorced, served in the armed forces, or attained less than a high school degree tend to be overrepresented among Wisconsin residents who die by suicide. Ensuring that policymakers, community leaders, employers, providers of health and social services, and members of the faith community understand the impact of these risk factors can help engage them in suicide prevention.

(See Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy, Page 19)


Available Training

QPR Institute

Mental Health First Aid

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)

Understanding Risk and Protective Factors for Suicide

Warning Signs for Suicide

Suicide Facts at a Glance

Understanding Suicide

Roles in Suicide Prevention (Teachers, Mental Health Providers, Managers,  Co-Workers, Faith Community, Emergency Medical Services, Law Enforcement, Senior Living, Parents/Guardians, Teens, Survivors)