Wisconsin wins federal grant for suicide prevention

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 11:30 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A new multi-million injection of federal dollars to help battle suicide in Wisconsin “could not come at a more critical time,” Dept. of Health Services Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said Thursday as her agency announced the five-year initiative.

Timberlake pointed out suicides are up nearly a third since the beginning of the century and ranks as the 10th leading cause of death in the state.

“We cannot continue to lose our family, friends, or members of our communities to suicide,” she said. “This landmark funding from the CDC will help save lives and save many from the unique and difficult pain of losing someone to suicide.”

Wisconsin was one of six states to win a share of the funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention targeting suicide prevention, DHS explained in a statement. Health officials added they are expecting to receive $868,730 this year, and similar amounts over the next four years, which DHS will then distribute to the portions of the state with the highest suicide rates.

The agency explained it will use the funds to establish partnerships with groups that target mental health and suicide prevention as well as to engage with people who have experienced a loss from suicide or who have contemplated it.

DHS also reminds anyone having suicidal thoughts, mental health issues or substance use disorders that they can call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The free hotline is open 24 hours a day and can be reached by calling or texting 988 or using the chat option at https://www.988lifeline.org.

Florida, Georgia, New York, North Dakota and Oregon will also be receiving CDC funds, in addition to Wisconsin, DHS noted.