It is a serious public health problem taking the lives of 46,000 people in the United States in 2020, a rate of once every 11 minutes.

Suicide continues to be a serious problem, one that knows no age, gender, or another qualifier. In La Crosse County, the oldest person to commit suicide was 82 years old. The youngest was 12.

September is Suicide Prevention Month and organizations across the country are raising concerns about the rate at which deaths continue to impact individuals, their families, friends, and communities.

The problem goes much deeper than 46,000 deaths, as the CDC says 1.2 million people attempted suicide in 2020 across the country, while 12.2 million Americans seriously thought about suicide in 2020. If the rate holds for Winona County, a little more than 1,500 people seriously considered suicide in 2020.

There are resources available to help in times of need.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides free and confidential support for anyone experiencing a suicidal, mental health, and/or substance use crisis.

People of all ages who need help for themselves or a loved one can access the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by:

  • Calling 988 (multiple languages).
  • Sending a text message to 988 (English only).
  • Using the chat feature at 988lifeline.org (English only).

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is the new name for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which has been available since 2005. 

About the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in Wisconsin

  • Wisconsinites who use the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in Wisconsin will connect with Wisconsin Lifeline, an in-state support center where trained counselors answer calls and texts to 988, as well as chats from the 988lifeline.org.
  • Wisconsin Lifeline counselors are trained to reduce stress, provide emotional support, and connect people with local resources.
  • Use of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available at no cost to Wisconsin residents. Additional care or intervention that may result from contact with the Wisconsin Lifeline may come with a cost.
  • Wisconsin Lifeline is not able to send an in-person response directly. An in-person response requires a transfer to another service and could involve law enforcement.
  • Calls, texts, and chats with Wisconsin Lifeline are kept confidential between the person and counselor unless there is imminent danger for the person or others.

About Wisconsin Lifeline

  • Wisconsin Lifeline is Wisconsin’s 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline service, answering calls, texts, and chats that come from residents throughout the state.
  • It is operated by Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, an agency based in Green Bay that serves all of Wisconsin with its 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline support center.
  • The counselors at Wisconsin Lifeline are trained to listen and support people through their distress with a focus on de-escalation and coping skills.
  • Wisconsin Lifeline has some bilingual counselors and staff. Third-party interpreters for over 90 languages are available 24/7.
  • Wisconsin Lifeline answers and responds to calls, texts, and chats as quickly as possible to minimize wait times between initial contact and counseling.
  • Wisconsin Lifeline is supported and funded by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
  • After two years of planning, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Lifeline are prepared to manage the statewide 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline service.

What happens when you contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline?

A person

Person seeking support

A phone ringing, a phone with a text message, chat bubbles

A person calls or texts 988 or chats via 988lifeline.org(link is external).

Talk Bubbles

A person receives automated response with options for Veterans and Spanish speakers.

Counselor

A person is connected to a counselor.

Most common experience

A person receives support, and de-escalation assistance from a crisis, learns new coping skills, acquires local referrals, and may receive a follow-up call.

The high concern of imminent risk to self or others

The person will receive a required wellness check from law enforcement.

Imminent risk of harm to self or others

The person will receive a required emergency law enforcement and medical response.

If you or someone you know is in imminent danger, call 911, not 988.