Suicide Task Force looks to lower Wisconsin suicide rate

“I had a brother that died by suicide.”

State Representative Steve Doyle knows firsthand how big of an issue the suicide epidemic is.

“This is an issue that is really front and center with legislative attention trying to figure out if there is anything we can do to stop the flow. “

As of 2017, the suicide rate in Wisconsin has been increasing on a yearly basis, with an increase of more than 150 people from 2014-2017. The committee’s research points to some possible reasons for the increase.

“We are seeing incredibly high numbers of suicides these days between the opioid crisis and the farm crisis and a lot of other things going on,” explained Doyle.

The CDC statistics show that those in rural areas have a higher suicide rate than those in mid-sized, and large metropolitan areas. A mental stigma in those areas may be a factor.

“Actually more in the rural areas and some would say that maybe those are folks that see themselves as independent they can take care of themselves,” explained State Representative Joan Ballweg.

“There’s a biological component that’s not always just something we can take of by our own thoughts and motivation and sheer will,” stated Christine Hughes, Counselor for Mayo Clinic Health System.

Medical and social experts spent the day presenting to the task force what they believe needs to be addressed in potential legislation.

And for Doyle, he knows the importance of getting help to those who need it, before it’s too late.

“You always wish that there were more resources available or you thought of something that you didn’t.”