Bringing awareness to suicide and mental health issues

Suicide has increased in our area but mental health experts want us to focus on awareness and prevention.

Suicide prevention group logos

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – According to the state’s health department each year 700 people in Wisconsin take their own lives but mental health officials say what’s more important than that number are the options available to people in need.

Preventable suicide has been at the forefront of the discussion following yesterday’s death of Wisconsin State Senator Rick Gudex. A medical examiner determined he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Fond du Lac Republican was 48 years old and leaves behind his wife, son and daughter.

So far this year in Brown County 39 people have died by suicide, an increase over the last two years.

“Simultaneously though, every month this year the Crisis Center has helped more people who are feeling suicidal than last year so the message here of hope is that also more people are asking for help,” said Tana Koss, Division Director for Family Services in Green Bay.

Koss said they’ve noticed a suicide increase in working/middle aged people, but death by suicide is a risk across the board.

“Because truly across the lifespan across the genders, across every demographic, there’s risks,” said Koss.

As a community, Koss said we need to encourage those struggling to seek help. That is something local law enforcement also wants to promote.

“Lucky that we have about 37 officers that are trained in the community crisis intervention model which is sweeping the nation a lot of law enforcement agencies are moving towards that training,” said Captain Jerry Muraski with the Green Bay Police Department.

Experts say they have a hard time explaining the increase of suicides in our area, but once again, what’s important is letting someone know they are not alone and recognizing the signs.