Improve Surveillance of Suicide and Evaluation of Prevention Programs
Use Wisconsin data to describe the impact of suicidal thoughts, attempts, and deaths and expand data linkages to further the understanding of suicide.
Prevention is driven by data, so an accurate and comprehensive picture of the impact of suicide (including thoughts, plans, and attempts) is crucial for prevention planning in Wisconsin. At present, data are available on suicide deaths and self-harm emergency department visits and hospitalizations through the Wisconsin Interactive Statistics on Health (WISH) data query system. Information on suicidal thoughts, suicide risk, and suicidal behavior is available through a variety of sources, including the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), the Wisconsin Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS), which is part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and the County Health Rankings. These data systems alone provide a wealth of information on suicide, but with increased dataset linkage capabilities, a more thorough and complete representation of these issues can be captured.
One means of data collection involves the efforts of death review teams, which could be expanded with additional resources. For instance, it would be helpful if Suicide Death Review Teams (SDRTs) across the state could enter data into a unified database to allow for place-based analysis of risk and protective factors. Also, to enhance the data that is collected, the state could potentially develop guidance for SDRTs similar to those developed for Child Death Review Teams (CDRT).
The CDRT model provides credibility, guidance on running a team, standardization of data reporting, and assistance in informing prevention strategies. The CDRT model has been used in Winnebago County to assist in the formation of a local Opioid Fatality Review Team. This model can also be used by any county wanting to develop teams for suicide death review. In collaboration with partners, the state could potentially improve overall cohesiveness for this type of data collection and application to prevention work.
Another important step for data collection is to ensure that populations at high-risk and populations of smaller numbers are represented in data collection. The following is taken from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s (SPRC’s) State Suicide Prevention Infrastructure Recommendations:24
Well-established, large datasets may not always adequately include underserved communities. In these cases, it’s important to make efforts to ensure that underserved communities are better represented (e.g., by targeted recruitment, oversampling, or other methods). When data on underserved populations cannot be obtained reliably or in a large enough number through such channels, the state suicide prevention program should work to address these gaps through stakeholder conversations about other data options, including alternate existing sources and/or the creation of new ones. Partners who represent specific communities can help in a number of ways:
- Locating existing data on their specific population(s).
- Exploring gaps in traditional data sources.
- Supporting data collection among their key audience via qualitative methods, such as focus groups and key informant interviews.
- Providing data and insight themselves.
The SPRC recommendations also stress that states should actively consult with and include historically underserved groups, such as tribes and refugee populations, in conversations about appropriate ways to ensure that accurate data on suicidal behaviors is collected and used appropriately.
4A: Use data to describe the impact and further the understanding of suicide
|Opportunities for Action
|Link information from Suicide Death Review Teams across the state into a unified database.
- Suicide Death Review Teams
- Medical College of Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Department of Health Services
- Wisconsin Department of Justice
- Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin
|Link data from multiple sources with the Wisconsin Violent Death Reporting System for a more comprehensive review of suicide deaths and self-harm injuries.
- Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ outreach to other state agencies and stakeholders