News Details

Program Hopes to Bring Suicide Talk into the Open

By Jim Lundstrom

Source: Peninsula Pulse
Published: Friday 12 July, 2013

The reports come with alarming regularity:

• Suicide by members of the military hit an all-time high in 2012, and suicide among veterans is on the rise. The Dept. of Veteran Affairs reports that 22 veterans take their own life every day, or one veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes.

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in May that suicide went from the eighth leading cause of death among middle-aged Americans to fourth, behind cancer, heart disease and accidental death. The report also stated that the suicide rate for middle-aged Americans rose 28 percent from 1999 to 2010, and suggested the contributing factors were the economic downturn. “Historically, suicide rates tend to correlate with business cycles, with higher rates observed during times of economic hardship,” the report noted. “Self-harm is an increasing public health concern.”

• Wisconsin had both a higher increase and a higher per capita suicide rate than the national average for people age 35-64. The state’s suicide rate rose 33.9 percent, to 19.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2010. The state suicide rate is three times greater than the state homicide rate. Each year about 629 suicide deaths take place in Wisconsin, with an average of 4,944 suicide-related hospitalizations.

Suicide knows no class or race or age, but it is preventable. As U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin said last year in announcing new suicide prevention funding, “The latest research shows that suicide is preventable, suicidal behaviors are treatable, and the support of families, friends and colleagues are critical protective factors.”

“I think the stigma of suicide needs to be lessened so everyone can talk about it,” said Amy DeMeter, who, along with Marsha Wilson,

will give a presentation on suicide prevention skills as part of the Community Health Information Program presented by Northern Door Health & Wellness Ministry at Stella Maris Church in Sister Bay at 4 pm on Sunday, July 14. “Suicide prevention is everybody’s business, and anyone can help prevent the tragedy of suicide. Let’s open a dialogue so that suicide isn’t a taboo topic.”

The pair will introduce the QPR suicide prevention skills.

“QPR means Question, Persuade, Refer,” DeMeter said. “These skills are not intended to be a form of counseling or treatment, but to give people skills that can offer hope through positive action to those that may be contemplating suicide.”

Both Wilson and DeMeter are emergency medical technicians, and DeMeter has also served as Door County’s deputy medical examiner since 2010.

DeMeter noted that there have been five suicides in Door County to date in 2013.

“QPR training goes through the clues and warning signs of suicide; learning how to ask the question, “Are you thinking about ending your life?” then learning how to persuade someone to get help, and knowing where to refer them. The willingness to listen and to help can rekindle hope, and make all the difference to someone with suicidal thoughts,” she said.

For those who want to know more about QPR training or Prevent Suicide Door County Nathan Wilson Coalition, call 920.495.2383 or e-mail

There is also the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255).

Suicide in the U.S.

It is the 10th leading cause of death among Americans. But suicide deaths are only part of the problem. Suicide attempts impact a larger population—more individuals survive suicide attempts than die. And they are often seriously injured and in need of medical care.

Suicide Deaths in the United States

• There are far more suicides each year than homicides. In fact, from 2008 - 2010, the number of suicides has been more than twice that of homicides.

• In 2010, more than 38,000 people died by suicide.

Suicide Attempts in the United States

• There are an estimated 12 attempted suicides for every one suicide death.

• In 2009, there were an estimated 374,486 people with self-inflicted injuries treated in emergency departments. The number increased to 464,995 in 2010 and 487,770 in 2011.

• The estimated number of people hospitalized for self-inflicted injuries increased from 155,000 in 2009 to 224,000 in 2011.

Age Group Differences

• Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 25- to 34-year olds and the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year olds.

• Suicide among 45- to 54-year-olds is a growing problem; the rate of suicide is higher in this age group than in any other.

• Although older adults engage in suicide attempts less than those in other age groups, they have a higher rate of death by suicide. Above the age of 65, there is one estimated suicide for every four attempted suicides compared to one suicide for every 100-200 attempts among youth and young adults ages 15-24.

Gender Disparities

• Men die by suicide four times as often as women and represent 78.8% of all U.S. suicides.

• Women attempt suicide two to three times as often as men.

• Suicide rates for males are highest among those aged 75 and older.

• Suicide rates for females are highest among those aged 45-54.

• Firearms are the most commonly used method of suicide among males.

• Poisoning is the most common method of suicide for females.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities

• The highest suicide rates are among American Indian/Alaskan Natives and Non-Hispanic Whites.

• Asian/Pacific Islanders have the lowest suicide rates among males while Non-Hispanic Blacks have the lowest suicide rate among females.

Source: Suicide Prevention Resource Center