FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - Despite May being Mental Health Awareness Month, Fond du Lac officials say they're seeing a spike in the number of people dying by suicide. Three of those deaths came in just the past week.
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Fond du Lac Fire Rescue finds itself responding to what appears to be a recent increase in suicides.
According to Lt. Bobby Scott, "We may go a long time without a suicide, and then just recently in the City of Fond du Lac we've had five that we've had taken care of."
According to the Fond du Lac County medical examiner, in 2018 his office dealt with a total of 11 deaths by suicide. There have been eight countywide in the first four-and-a-half months of 2019 -- six within the last month.
"It's hard to know what it says necessarily, simply because suicide is a very complex issue; there's no one single cause in any circumstance," says Tammi Kohlman.
According to Kohlman, coordinator of a suicide prevention grant in Fond du Lac County, 2019's numbers are alarming but it's a topic that needs to be discussed. Kohlman says mental health is just as important as a person's physical health.
"If you sprain your ankle, you're not embarrassed to go to the doctor," Kohlman says. "You're not embarrassed to tell your friends, 'I rolled my ankle, so I'm not going to play the game today.' But when it comes to mental health, people are a lot more hesitant to say anything."
That's why CSI, a community coalition of over 25 stakeholders who recognize the need for the social, emotional and behavioral well-being of all residents, sponsors free training on suicide prevention.
Kohlman says, "That really aims to inform people about the warning signs of suicide and give them the confidence to intervene appropriately."
Because as Kohlman tells us, connecting those with suicidal thoughts to the proper treatment does save lives.
- Click here for a schedule of Comprehensive Service Integration (CSI) events, including QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention training