The Wisconsin Violent Death Reporting System (WVDRS) collects information on the specific circumstances that are reported or perceived in the investigation reports (e.g., coroner or medical examiner report, law enforcement report, and death certificate) as being related to the violent death (e.g., suicide). For the vast majority of circumstances, it is sufficient to code a circumstance if it was included in the investigation reports or occurred before or right after the fatal injury (i.e., preceding or impending events).

Alcohol issue: refers to suicide decedents who were perceived by self or others to have an issue with, or to be addicted to, alcohol or were noted as participating in an alcohol rehabilitation program. This does not refer to issues in the past (i.e., five years ago or more) that have been resolved and no longer appear to apply.

Argument: refers to suicide deaths in which a specific argument (e.g., argument over money, relationship problem, insults, etc.) was perceived to contribute to the death.

Civil legal problem: refers to suicide decedents who were facing civil legal problems (e.g., divorce, custody dispute, civil lawsuit, etc.) at the time of death, and these problems appear to have contributed to the death.
Criminal legal problem: refers to suicide decedents who were facing criminal legal problems (e.g., recent or impending arrest, law enforcement pursuit, impending criminal court date, etc.) at time of death, and these problems appear to have contributed to the death.

Current treatment for mental health or substance use: refers to suicide decedents who were in current treatment (i.e., had a current prescription for a psychiatric medication, saw a mental health professional within the past two months, participated in treatment for substance use or a self-help program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) at the time of injury.

Death of a family member or friend: refers to suicide decedents who were distraught over, or reacting to, a death of a friend or family member. This death could have been recent or many years ago. This excludes suicide because suicide of a family member or friend is captured in a separate variable.

Depressed mood: refers to suicide decedents who were perceived by self or others to be depressed at the time of the injury. A clinical diagnosis is not needed.

Disclosed suicidal intent: refers to suicides in which the decedent disclosed suicidal thoughts or plans to another person recently or within the last month, whether explicitly (e.g., “I have been thinking about suicide lately.”) or indirectly (e.g., “I know how to put a permanent end to this pain.”).

Family problem: refers to suicide decedents who were experiencing a relationship problem with a family member other than an intimate partner (e.g., a child, mother, in-law, etc.) and this appears to have contributed to the death.

Financial problem: refers to suicide decedents who were experiencing a problem, such as bankruptcy, overwhelming debts, or foreclosure of a home or business, and this appears to have contributed to the death.

History of suicidal thoughts or plans: refers to suicide decedents who have at any time in their life expressed suicidal thoughts or plans. The decedent may or may not have disclosed suicidal thoughts or plans close the time of the suicide.

History of suicide attempts: refers to suicide decedents who were known to have made a previous suicide attempt before the fatal incident, regardless of the severity of those attempts or whether any resulted in injury. The victim must engage in a potentially injurious behavior.
History of treatment for mental health or substance use: refers to suicide decedents who were noted as ever having received treatment (i.e., had a current prescription for a psychiatric medication, saw a mental health professional within the past two months, or participated in a self-help program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) for a mental health issue (including alcohol and other substance use issues), either at the time of death or in the past.

Intimate partner issue: refers to suicide decedents who were experiencing issues with a current or former intimate partner (e.g., divorce, break-up, argument, jealously, etc.) at the time of the death, and this appears to have contributed to the death.

Job problem: refers to suicide decedents who were either experiencing a problem at work (e.g., tensions with a co-worker, poor performance reviews, increased pressure, feared layoff, etc.) or were having a problem with joblessness (e.g., recently laid off, having difficulty finding a job, etc.) at the time of the death, and this appears to have contributed to the death.

Left suicide note: refers to suicide decedents who left suicide notes (or other recorded communication). Notes can be written or electronic.

Mental health issue: refers to suicide decedents who had been identified as currently having a mental health issue, including those disorders and syndromes listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), with exception of alcohol or other substance dependence (as these are captured in separate variables). There does not need to be any indication that the mental health condition directly contributed to death.

Non-alcohol substance use issue: refers to suicide decedents who were perceived by self or others to have an issue with, or
to be addicted to, drugs other than alcohol. There does not need to be any indication that the addiction directly contributed to the death.

Physical health problem: refers to suicide decedents who were experiencing physical health problems (e.g., terminal disease, debilitating conditions, chronic pain, etc.) that were relevant to the event.

Problem with a friend or associate: refers to suicide decedents who were experiencing a relationship problem with someone other than an intimate partner or other family member (e.g., friend, schoolmate, etc.) at the time of death, and this appears to have contributed to the death.

Suicide of a family member or friend: refers to suicide decedent who experienced a suicide of a family member or friend that appears to have contributed to the death. There is no time limit for when the suicide of the family or friend occurred, except that it occurred during the victim’s lifetime and that it is noted to have contributed to the victim’s death.

School problem: refers to suicide decedents who experienced a problem related to school (e.g., poor grades, difficulty with a teacher, bullying, etc.) at the time of the incident and this appears to have contributed to the death.