ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) recently hosted a conference in Ashwaubenon to help veterans, especially tribal members, overcome mental health issues.

Organizers said tribal veterans are more susceptible to suicidal thoughts. One reason is that many Wisconsin tribes are located in remote areas, making it difficult for those communities to find resources.

Director of the Tribal Epidemiology Center, Will Funmaker, said some events that can trigger suicidal thoughts are deaths in a family, breakups, and substance abuse.

Funmaker added, “A lot of tribes find it challenging because of that reduced amount of funding. That mental health aspect, especially with what we’re talking about today, is a real vital need.”

One portion of the conference was dedicated to QPR training, which stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer. This method is used to help people analyze their suicidal thoughts and learn to manage them.

“Question: We’ve identified some things going on in people’s lives that maybe had verbal clues, non-verbal clues. Persuade: We’re persuading people to live and Refer: We’re referring them to the appropriate resources,” explained Cal Stammer, WDVA Supervisor.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you are urged to call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, 988. For additional resources, click here.