According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on average one person dies by suicide every nine hours in Wisconsin.
And suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth in the state.
The Center for Suicide Awareness is based in Kaukana, but were fortunate to receive a grant from the Waupaca Community Foundation.
Now they’re expanding their services to Waupaca county because they say rural areas carry the most need.
Annette Larie will be the Center for Suicide Awareness counselor for Waupaca county.
The executive director for the center says the nine suicides in Waupaca county this year have all been veterans, but there are other groups that need to be served too.
“Our youth are coming on the Hopeline and saying, ‘here I am, I have a smart phone and technology is connected, but I’m feeling alone and I’m feeling isolated’,” says Barb Bigalke. “How can we do something for a population like LGBTQ that are in a smaller community that may not have the resources or support and network.”
The counselors say Waupaca was also an ideal location because of it’s size.
“It is a rural area and in rural areas the rate of suicide are higher, resources are fewer and so it’s very important that this area is served,” says Larie.
The center takes thousands of calls a year and have intervened or stopped 80 suicides to date.
Expanding their services is just one more way to prevent suicides.
“We’re looking to have those partners and say to a veteran organization, ‘let’s do a community event’ or a school, ‘lets partner and do some kind of event’,” says Bigalke. “That’s really the way we’re going to work on preventing suicide.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide text the word Hopeline to 741741 to connect to a trained counselor.