Neenah woman shares brother's story to raise suicide awareness

Published: Jan. 15, 2020 at 5:54 PM CST
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A sister torn apart by a family suicide is choosing to help others as she tries to heal.

Sarah Mickelson knows healing can only come from helping others, because that's what her brother, Brian Tucker, would've wanted her to do.

"I guess there's always the why, but that's not something we'll get an answer for,” Sarah Mickelson said. "Brian was a compassionate person.

From the stories I hear from his students, he was the kind of teacher that would jump up on his desk to get people to get excited about lessons."

To his students at Iola-Scandinavia High School, Tucker was a father figure.

To his family, Sarah said, he was a jokester.

Suicide is a word no sister ever wants to say, but Sarah believes talking about it is the best way to spare others from the hurt she feels today.

"People can have diabetes or cancer or heart and lung disease and we see that as something we can support, but when it comes to something to do with mental illness, it's not something that people feel comfortable yet sharing,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson said the family knew Tucker had struggles, but there was never a way to predict this would happen.

"I don't think there's necessarily signs and that's what's so devastating about suicide is that you look back and you think back and you wonder, what did I miss?” said Mickelson.

Experts said loved ones can help a family member struggling with mental health by being a listening ear and attending counseling sessions with them.

Wisconsin Suicide Hotlines:

Wisconsin Suicide Prevention:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:


Center for Suicide Awareness:

Family Services Crisis Center:

Brown County Community Treatment Center:

National Institute of Mental Health:

Brown County Coalition for Suicide Prevention:

Prevent Suicide Fox Cities:

Bellin Health Psychiatric Center:

Willow Creek Behavioral Health:

Parents' guide to suicide prevention:

Project Semicolon:

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