The Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy

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.

Mental Health America (MHA) of Wisconsin 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.


Key Wisconsin Accomplishments to Date

  • 1998 Helping Others Prevent and Educate about Suicide (HOPES), a group by and for survivors of suicide loss, is founded.
  • 2002 Department of Health Services releases first Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy.
  • 2004 Department of Health Services identifies youth suicide prevention as a priority through its Prevention/Early Intervention in Mental Health grant; the first dedicated suicide prevention funding. First six mini-grants for suicide prevention awarded. Over 50 such mini-grants have been awarded to date.
  • 2006 Mental Health America of Wisconsin receives Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention grant on behalf of the State of Wisconsin.
  • 2008 First Burden of Suicide in Wisconsin report issued with data from 2001-2006.
  • 2009 As a result of a state strategic planning summit Prevent Suicide Wisconsin is founded to brand Wisconsin’s suicide prevention efforts and provide state level leadership. A steering committee is formed, logo is developed, and website introduced.
  • 2009 First Wisconsin Warrior summit brings together veterans, their families, veterans service organizations, and civilian human and social services staffs to learn about the needs of veterans, especially those struggling with mental health and substance use issues, as well as suicidal thoughts and behavior. Six such summits have been held.
  • 2011 First Communities in Action to Prevent Suicide conference held to bring together key suicide prevention stakeholders in Wisconsin. Four conferences have been held to date.
  • 2012 Mental Health America of Wisconsin receives second Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention grant.
  • 2013 First Perfect Depression Care learning community created as five organizations send teams to Henry Ford Health System to learn about its systemic effort to reduce suicides. A second learning community is formed in 2014.
  • 2014 An updated report, The Burden of Suicide in Wisconsin 2007-2011, is released.
  • 2015 An updated Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy is released. 
  • 2016 Formation of Maternal and Child Health Adolescent Suicide Prevention Learning Community for local health departments.