Wisconsin receives multi-year grant for suicide prevention

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin is one of six states that will receive a federal grant focusing on suicide prevention.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says it is getting a five-year grant from the CDC worth more than $868,000 this year. Similar funding levels are expected over the next four years.

“This funding could not come at a more critical time,” Wisconsin DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said in a statement announcing the grant. “We cannot continue to lose our family, friends, or members of our communities to suicide.”

The DHS says suicide rates have increased by 32% in the last 20 years and is now the 10th-leading cause of death in the state. Nearly 900 people in Wisconsin died by suicide in 2020, according to DHS data.

“This is something that impacts so many lives. It’s very important that we got this, and I’m excited about it,” Dr. Jasmine Zapata from DHS said.

The department says the federal funding will go toward several strategies to reduce suicide in Wisconsin, including partnerships with mental health and suicide prevention groups and engaging with people who have attempted to take their own life, have had suicidal thoughts, or had a loved one take their own life.

In an interview with News 3 Now, Leah Rolando from Mental Health America of Wisconsin echoed Timberlake’s comments about the funding’s arrival coming at the perfect time.

“I’m excited that there’s an opportunity within Suicide Prevention Month and with this new grant announcement for people to be talking about what more can be done,” she said.

Other states who were awarded the grants were Florida, Georgia, New York, North Dakota and Oregon.

You can find more suicide prevention resources on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ website.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health and needs someone to talk to, the 988 suicide and crisis hotline is available 24 hours per day. You can also use the Crisis Text Line by texting HOPELINE to 741741.