‘Affects far too many families:’ Walk of Remembrance held in Milwaukee on ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’

Suicide prevention

MILWAUKEE — A “Walk of Remembrance” was held Tuesday evening, Sept. 10 at Milwaukee’s Veterans Park in recognition of “World Suicide Prevention Day.”

The candlelight vigil in memory of those who have died by suicide featured a one-mile walk around the lagoon.

The event was organized by the AB Korkor Foundation for Mental Health, which “seeks to band together around a common goal: Preventing suicide.” The AB Korkor Foundation teamed up with Prevent Suicide Greater Milwaukee, Mental Health America of Wisconsin, VA Suicide Prevention Team, and the Milwaukee County Behavior Health Division.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin’s suicide rate rose by 40% between 2000 and 2017, and in 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death among adolescents in Wisconsin.

DHS officials said the department’s most recent analysis of state suicide deaths and suicide-related injury was part of a preview of an upcoming report that seeks to mobilize and guide state action to reduce suicide attempts and deaths — Suicide in Wisconsin: Impact and Response — due to be released by the end of 2019 by Prevent Suicide Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s updated suicide prevention plan focuses on four areas, DHS officials said:

  • Increase and enhance protective factors, including efforts that build social connections to family, friends, co-workers, therapists, faith leaders, and other supports for at-risk populations and reduce access to substances and weapons.
  • Increase access to care for at-risk populations, including expanded use of smartphone apps, telehealth, and non-clinical support services.
  • Implement best practices for prevention in health care systems, including tools for screening, assessment, and treatment.
  • Improve surveillance of suicide and evaluation of programs, including efforts to standardize the investigating and reporting of suicide deaths.

Meanwhile, DHS officials put together a new webpage that provides critical information for helping someone in emotional pain, and includes a list of statewide and national resources.

For free, confidential emotional support and resources before a struggle becomes a crisis, call 800-273-8255 or text HOPELINE to 741741.

CLICK HERE for more statistics regarding suicide in Wisconsin, via the DHS’ website.

Jim Healy, Richfield village administrator, wrote an emotional Facebook post Tuesday, in which he discussed the loss of his brother-in-law, who died by suicide. It happened on the same day Healy and his wife welcomed their newborn son.

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