MADISON, Wis. - Suicide occurs among all groups of people - and Wisconsin has seen a steady increase in its suicide rate in the last two decades, up 25 percent since 1999.
For this year's Suicide Prevention Week, which runs through tomorrow, suicide prevention specialists are highlighting the power of storytelling, saying there's a ray of hope from survivors sharing their experiences and their recovery.
Leah Rolando is a suicide prevention specialist with the nonprofit Mental Health America Wisconsin. She says one of the most important tools for suicide prevention is when someone realizes they are not alone.
"The fact that people can get better, and the voice of lived experience of people who have attempted suicide, going on to be in services or connect with other people," says Rolando, "that's really important."
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found everyday issues - from job stress and relationship problems to bullying and social isolation - contribute to a person's thoughts of suicide. To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The increase in Wisconsin's suicide rate parallels the national average, but its teen suicide rate is one-third higher than the national average. Studies show rates decline in summer and rise when school starts, relating to academic and social pressures.
Rolando says there are many ways people can learn more and find solutions.
"There's a lot of ways people can get involved," says Rolando. "Depending on where they are, they can look up their local suicide prevention coalition and get involved that way. So, we have a list of coalitions on our 'preventsuicdewisconsin.org' website."
While there are many factors contributing to suicide, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention estimates about 90 percent of people who take their own lives have struggled with some type of mental-health issue.