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LETTER: Task force tackles suicide rates

To the Editor:

Suicide rates continue to be on the rise in the United States.

Averages and statistics: 38,000 people die by suicide each year, or one person every 14 minutes; it's the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.; it's the fourth leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 65. In 2011 Wisconsin reported 792 suicide deaths; 18 deaths occurred in St. Croix County; among veterans, suicide rates have increased from 18 veterans per day to 22 veterans per day; the frequency of suicide deaths among veterans is higher than those killed in combat overseas.

(From the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Department of Veteran Affairs 2012 Suicide Data Report).

Suicide remains as something we don't talk much about in today's society.

MYTH: Talking about suicide causes people to do it.

FACT: Openly talking about suicide in an informed way decreases stigma and creates awareness. This saves precious lives.

It is said that for every suicide death, six people are impacted. We believe this number to be significantly small. When a suicide death occurs, it sends ripples through entire communities, leaving no one untouched by a life taken too soon.

This is why the Suicide Prevention Task Force of St. Croix County believes that suicide prevention is not the sole responsibility of one entity. It takes the whole community to learn about and help reduce suicide. And much like the saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child" it will take an entire community to embrace such suicide prevention efforts.

We believe it is worth saving the lives of our friends, family, and neighbors. People who see no other solution in their lives but suicide, can be helped and go on to live well and productively for as long as anyone else.

The Suicide Prevention Task Force of St. Croix County has recently come together as grassroots non-profit coalition. It includes area mental health providers, health care providers, school representatives, community members, law enforcement representatives, and veterans' organizations.

It began as a simple idea, and has evolved by dedicated members taking their time to turn this idea into a reality. There are volunteers from Hudson, New Richmond, Somerset, Hammond, Woodville and Baldwin. They are working to enlist people from the Glenwood City area as well.

The Suicide Prevention Task Force of St. Croix County is committed to helping St. Croix County community members who may be affected by mental health concerns specifically that of suicide.

The task force aims to: reduce stigma associated with mental health concerns; inform community members about the impact and frequency of suicide deaths in St. Croix County in order to promote intervention and reduce suicide deaths; improve access to mental health resources; empower citizens through education about suicide; identify and address mental health challenges that face our communities; educate the public on unique mental health challenges faced by the veteran community, as well as building awareness of available resources for veterans and their families.

Anyone is invited to attend their first event sponsored by the Suicide Prevention Task Force of St. Croix County. It is a Community Forum, on Wednesday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the New Richmond Community Commons.

This event will be free of charge. Included will be a QPR Gatekeeper Training. QPR is a nationally recognized evidenced-based program, proven to reduce suicides in communities across the United States. QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) teaches participants the warning signs of suicide, how to best respond to those contemplating suicide by asking the right questions, and how to refer individuals to necessary life-saving resources.

Please join us in the quest to save lives and instill hope in those who may be contemplating suicide.

For additional information on this event or ways to become involved, please contact Patty Schachtner at or Kesha Marson at Additional information can be found on our Facebook Page, Suicide Prevention Task Force of St. Croix County, Wisconsin.

Suicide Prevention Task Force of St. Croix County