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Published on August 31, 2017

Suicide prevention events planned for Sept. 19-20

Help raise awareness and hope in our community

Suicide occurs among all ages and across all socioeconomic groups. It impacts the lives of thousands of people every year. Here in La Crosse County, 17 people died by suicide in 2016.

Gundersen Health System supports the La Crosse Area Suicide Prevention Initiative in its efforts to spread the message of prevention, assessment and intervention.

"Suicide is a public health problem that is all too prevalent in our community. Suicide has a devastating effect on families, friends, employers and the community," says Geri Mulliner, RN, Gundersen Behavioral Health. "Having an educated community that is aware of the warning signs and knows how to get someone help can save lives."

In the park, Tuesday, Sept. 19
A suicide awareness event is planned for Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Riverside Park in La Crosse. There will be a speaker (rain or shine), stories of hope, music and resources. This event is free and open to the public.

At the summit, Wednesday, Sept. 20
The 2017 Suicide Prevention Summit is at the Radisson Hotel on Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The conference is designed for: psychologists, social workers, counselors, teachers, school guidance counselors, clergy and pastoral care, law enforcement officials, nurses, paramedics, medical assistants, youth leaders, student service personnel and any interested or affected community members. Kaitlin's Table, a program of Gundersen Medical Foundation, is a summit sponsor.

The conference includes keynote speakers:

  • Alan Berman, PhD, adjunct professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, is the former executive director of the American Association of Suicidology. He will present "Bullying and Suicide: What Parents, Providers, Teachers and Policy Makers Need to Know."
  • Deb Murray, PsyD, director of Mental Health Counseling Program, Viterbo University, will present, "Compassionate Conversations and Recognizing Resilience."

Breakout sessions will focus on: Managing risk for personality-disordered clients, army suicide prevention, family survival panel, chronic pain, evidenced-based practices, suicide prevention in LGBTQ population, crisis intervention for law enforcement, and bullying and self-harm in teens.

The summit is held in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Continuing Education and Extension. Cost is $120 and includes materials, lunch, refreshments and continuing education credits. To register and view detailed information about keynotes and breakouts, visit uwlax.edu/conted/suicide-prevention.

Know the warning signs of suicide:

  • Threatening to or talking about wanting to die
  • Increased apathy, hopelessness
  • Poor eating and sleeping habits
  • Acquiring a gun or stockpiling pills
  • Substance abuse
  • Putting personal affairs in order
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and activities usually enjoyed
  • Agitation prior to the attempt

If you or someone you know is at risk, seek help!

  • Call 9-1-1 or Great Rivers 2-1-1 (24-hour crisis line and referral service).
  • Contact the crisis facility in La Crosse County at (608) 784-HELP.
  • See a doctor or therapist via clinic, walk-in or emergency room.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).
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