In order to prevent suicide, we must gain a better understanding of suicidal behavior. With this knowledge, we can identify important risk and protective factors and begin to form a comprehensive prevention plan around them. Throughout Part 1 of this report, we examine the data on characteristics of suicide deaths, hospitalizations with self-harm injuries, emergency department visits with self-harm injuries, and related behaviors, as well as highlight important analyses in order to develop an understanding of potential risk and protective factors. However, we never want to lose sight of the fact that these data represent people in our communities throughout the state, including family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

To understand the incidence of suicidal behavior in Wisconsin, we can look at suicide deaths, hospitalizations and emergency department visits with self-harm injuries, and suicidal thoughts or plans based on survey data. The Wisconsin Violent Death Reporting System (WVDRS)4 and Wisconsin Vital Records death certificates capture important information about suicide deaths, while inpatient hospitalizations and emergency department visits with self-harm injuries serve as indicators of potential suicide attempts. Although data on adult suicidal thoughts and behaviors is limited, a survey of Wisconsin high school students, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), examines the prevalence of suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and related risk factors among youth.

 

4. The Wisconsin Violent Death Reporting System is part of the National Violent Death Reporting System, which is administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).