Wisconsin’s suicide rate didn’t increase as much as experts feared

MADISON, Wis. — While we don’t want to gloss over the fact that 861 people died by suicide last year in Wisconsin, according to new data from DHS, that’s only 11 more than the year before and almost 60 less than the unfortunate record reached in 2017.

Mental health experts had feared the pandemic would make things exponentially worse, as millions of people lost not only their jobs, but their physical, financial, and emotional health.

Alarming statistics have been popping up across the country: one in ten Americans reported seriously considering suicide, according to a CDC report last June. In Wisconsin, Milwaukee County made headlines after its medical examiner reported suicides rose from 3 in July to 23 in August.

“As we move through the collective trauma of the pandemic, I think people are being more open about how they may be struggling,” said Anna Moffit, Executive Director of NAMI Dane County.

Still, Moffit says Madison-area suicide trends are concerning.

“We’re one of the top five states when it comes to patients receiving in-patient care for self-harm and self-injury,” she explained.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 30 in Wisconsin, according to NAMI.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, you are not alone. One of the quickest ways to find help is to schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor. He or she can help you get a referral for a counselor, a prescription for medication, and/or a plan to support your full recovery.

“I do think it’s great we’re talking about it more,” Moffit affirmed.

Click here to learn more about NAMI and the services it provides.

You can also talk confidentially to a trained professional 24/7 by calling the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Learn more about the free service here.