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Preventing Access to Methods of Suicide

Facts to Know About Suicide:

  • Suicide is the leading cause of violent death in Wisconsin.
  • Firearms are the most common method used in suicide, followed by hanging and poisoning.
  • A previous suicide attempt or the loss of a love done or friend to suicide can increase the risk.

Suicide is often preventable with education, treatment and support. 60–90% of people that die by suicide have a treatable mental illness or alcohol/drug abuse problem.

Things to Look Out for:

Warning Signs-

  • Talking about suicide or wanting to die
  • Recent crises, losses, stress; they can be financial, personal, relationships, illness and pain
  • Untreated mental illness and alcohol/drug abuse
  • Access to methods of suicide: fi rearms, poisons, suffocation/hanging


  • No reason for living
  • Hopelessness/helplessness
  • Trapped/no way out
  • Anger, rage
  • Anxiety, agitation
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Heavy guilt


  • Big changes in eating and/or sleeping
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Impulsiveness
  • Alcohol/Drug use/abuse
  • Withdrawing from family/friends/usual activities
  • Making final arrangements; giving away prized possessions
  • Planning and preparing for suicide

“Spur-of-the-moment behavior appears to play an important role in suicide. Suicide prevention experts believe that if deadly methods are not readily available when a person decides to attempt suicide, he or she can delay the attempt. If delayed, it may allow for the possibility of later deciding not to attempt suicide, or using less deadly methods, allowing for greater possibility of medical
rescue.” -From the South Central Idaho SPAN Chapter, Steps to Prevent Suicide brochure

If you see these changes in yourself or someone else call:
1-608-280-2600 Crisis Line available 24/7
1-800-273-8255 (TALK)


What to do:


  • Remove all firearms (shotguns, handguns, hunting rifles) from the home. Ask extended family and/or friends to store them
  • Contact your local police about safe gun storage
  • Get and use cable gun locks
  • Lock gun cabinet or safe, store all keys in a separate location from the gun
  • Keep all bullets separate from gun(s)
  • Store gun(s) unloaded

Medications & Poisons-

  • Destroy unused and outdated medications
  • Fill drug prescriptions in small quantities
  • Buy over the counter medications in small quantities
  • Store all medications and poisons in a secure place

Hanging & Suffocation-

  • Many items in the home can be used for suicide by hanging or suffocation
  • Be alert to the risk factors and warning signs of suicide

Alcohol & Drugs-

  • Monitor alcohol and drug use; as they can increase impulsivity and make symptoms worse



For emergency help if someone is in immediate risk of suicide
CALL 9-1-1
Call 1-800-273-8875 (TALK)
Press 1 for those who are a Veteran

For additional information:

Dane County residents:
Call 608-280-2600 Crisis Line (available 24/7)
Mental Health Center of Dane County
Dane County Access to Services Map:

HOPES – Helping Others Prevent and Educate About Suicide at

Mental Health America of WI at

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at



AFSP – American Foundation of Suicide Prevention at

AAS – American Association of Suicidology at

Suicide Prevention Task Force of Safe Communities at

WI-DHFS, Division of Public Health, Injury Prevention Program – WI Violent Injuries and Death Report at

Youth Suicide Steps to Prevent Suicide, South Central Idaho SPAN Chapter at


other news

Police ticket 45 for seat belt violations

Forty-five tickets were issued for seat belt violations by twelve Dane County law enforcement agencies during a county-wide education and

Officials Issue Reminder to Buckle Up

The Dane County Traffic Safety Commission (TSC) is urging drivers to buckle up ahead of a county-wide education and enforcement

Injuries and Fatalities Up Among Older Drivers

In 2023, Dane County saw an increase in serious injuries and deaths of older drivers involved in traffic crashes. Seriously


getting involved

The partnerships built by Safe Communities have created a safer community, with more opportunities for education and awareness. We continue to envision a safer future for the people who live in Madison and Dane County, with instances of unnecessary deaths and serious injuries are infrequent, rather than a daily occurrence.


Treatment Key

Safe communities has complied a list of abbreviation definitions for finding the right treatment for you.

MAT: Medication for Addiction Treatment.
OP: Outpatient Treatment – person lives at home or in the community, attends. individual and group therapy, these can include or not include MAT.
IOP: Intensive Outpatient Treatment – person lives at home or in the community, attends individual and extended groups, 9-12 hours a week.
Residential: person lives at the facility for a period of at least 14 days, some last as many as 45 days.
PHP: Partial Hospitalization Program is a structured mental health treatment program that runs for several hours each day, three to five days per week.
DBT: Dialectical behavior therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that integrates mindfulness techniques.