September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and this week is set aside to focus on the growing issue.
Wisconsin suicide rates are the 10th leading cause of deaths for all ages. In Vilas county, as one example, the rate is 21 percent per 100,000 residents.
Heidi Pritzl is a licensed clinical social worker with Ascension Koller Behavioral Health. She outlines some of the risk factors....
"...When we think of risk factors, we think of history of mental illness, maybe a previous attempt at suicide. When we look at stats, some of the highest rates are the male population in the age of 45-54. Then when we look at the warning signs, we're looking at any previous suicide attempts, depression, moodiness, hopelessness, giving away prized possessions or unexplained anger and aggression..."
Pritzl says help is available...
"Link back with their nurse practitioner or doctor. There are some local crisis lines available as well. We have our Tri-County Crisis Number which is available 24-7. That number is 1-888-299-1188. If someone doesn't feel comfortable talking to an individual, there is also our text Hope Line which is availabe 24-7. That number is available 24 hours a day. That number is 741741...."
Ascension Koller Behavioral Health is hosting a free showing of the film "The Ripple Effect" at Nicolet College on September 25. It's the story of one of the few survivors of suicide who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. There will also be a mental health resource fair beginning at 5:30 p.m. before the showing of the film that evening. That fair will profile information and resources available in the community.
We have more with Heidi Pritzl below.