Would you recognize suicide risk if you saw it?

Suicide Prevention Training 

Safe Communities offers a free training where participants learn the warning signs for suicide, risk and protective factors, theories that drive suicidal behavior, how to offer hope, and how to seek help to save a life.

Send us an e-mail for more information or register below. info@safercommunites.org


A gatekeeper is someone trained to recognize a suicide crisis and, because of their training, knows how and where to find help.

Suicide Prevention gatekeeper training takes one and a half hours and is taught in a format that is clear, concise, and applicable for a wide variety of audiences. Gatekeepers are given information that is easy to understand, and reinforced by a wallet card complete with things to say or not to say, and a list of resources available in your community.

Suicide Prevention research recognizes that even socially isolated individuals usually have some sort of contact within their community (e.g. family, doctors, teachers, employer, banker, counselor, etc.) This training teaches diverse groups within each community how to recognize the crisis of suicide and how to act.

Speaking to someone about suicide offers the increased possibility of intervention early in the depressive and/or suicidal crisis (when the level of suicide may be less).

This training encourages the gatekeeper to take the individual directly to a treatment provider and/or community resource.

This training stresses active follow-up on each intervention that occurs. The individual trained often plays a preexisting role in the at-risk person’s life. This increases the sense of continuity, support likelihood of a positive resolution and increases a sense of connection and belonging.


All classes are virtual for the foreseeable future.

They occur every first Thursday of the month at 1pm.

Request Green Bandanas or Lockboxes

Register for FREE Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training

Warning Signs for Suicide:

From the National Institute of Mental Health
The behaviors listed below may be some of the signs that someone is thinking about suicide.

Talking about:

  1. Wanting to die
  2. Great guilt or shame
  3. Being a burden to others


  1. Empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live
  2. Extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage
  3. Unbearable emotional or physical pain

Changing behavior, such as:

  1. Making a plan or researching ways to die
  2. Withdrawing from friends, saying good bye, giving away important items, or making a will
  3. Taking dangerous risks such as driving extremely fast
  4. Displaying extreme mood swings
  5. Eating or sleeping more or less
  6. Using dangerous drugs or alcohol more often

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.

Download PDF regarding the NIMH’s Warning Signs and Share

How can I Help?

1: Ask:

“Are you thinking of killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question, but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does NOT increase suicides and or suicidal thoughts.

2. Keep them safe:

Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means makes a difference.

  • In order to reduce access to lethal means, Safe Communities launched a Gun Shop Project in 2016 giving people at-risk a place to safely store guns and providing education to gun shop owners about the warning signs of suicide.

3. Be there:

Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Research suggests acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.

4. Help them connect:

Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number in your phone so it’s there when you need it: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.

Dane County Crisis Numbers:

Journey Mental Health 24/7 Crisis Line: 608-280-2600

Solstice House Warmline: 608-244-5077 

2-1-1 United Way Dane County or (608) 246-HELP (4357)

Hopeline Text Line – Test “HOPELINE” to 741741
HOPELINE is the Emotional Support Text Line in the State of Wisconsin and provides service
throughout the entire state. HOPELINE’s purpose is to offer emotional support and resources
before situations rise to crisis level.

NAMI Dane County – (608) 249-7188

5. Stay Connected:

Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.

Download PDF regarding the NIMH’s Five Action Steps and Share

6. Create a safety plan:

Patient Safety Plan Template Adopted from the ©2008 Barbara Stanley and Gregory K. Brown

Start the Conversation Today

Talking about suicide helps prevent it. We’ll help you get the conversation started.

The story of Kevin Berthia, a Suicide Survivor, and Sergeant Kevin Briggs, Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge is a powerful story about mental health, suicide and the importance of human connection. Here are some free online videos regarding their story to introduce the topic of suicide and suicide prevention to your group. Suicide is a difficult topic, but discussing it helps us to see the reality of what life is like for those living with mental illness and teaches us how to connect with one another on a deeper level and prevent suicide.


The Bridge Between Suicide and Life– Sergeant Kevin Briggs, Officer who patrolled Golden Gate Bridge
The Impact of Listening – Kevin Berthia, Suicide Survivor

Questions to Help you Guide a Conversation after watching:

  • Thoughts on what you just saw?
  • Do you know the warnings of suicide?
  • What would your response be if you saw these signs in a friend or family member?
  • How can we make it easier to talk about mental health?
    • Allowing people, a non-judgmental safe space to talk about mental health is often the best way to make it easier. Empathy is really important when it comes to discussing mental health. Here is a video from Brene Brown regarding empathy.
  • Where do we go from here?
    • Some people may want to take action. The simplest thing you can do to prevent suicide is allow people to tell their stories, letting others know they are not alone. But participating in Gatekeeper Training is another great way to help prevent suicide. Getting involved with the work of Safe Communities by volunteering or donating to their causes is another way to help prevent suicide.
    • We have added a NEW Suicide Prevention Training! Please register HERE to attend the hour and a half training for free!

If after having this discussion anyone expresses thoughts of suicide, provide reassurance that they are
not alone. Use your judgement, if they are expressing a plan and seem intent on ending their life, get
help immediately, call 911 or the National Suicide Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

“Thank you for this amazing training. It was very helpful to me and you presented difficult materials very well. I still can’t believe the number of suicides in Wisconsin. I would have never guessed. I am sharing this information with other groups.”


Lisa, QPR Class Participant


Dane County Suicide Crisis Line: (608) 280-2600


National Suicide Prevention Line:
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
For Veterans Press 1, En Español Oprima El 2

Safe Communities is not a counseling or crisis center and does not provide direct services. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

our programs

We are currently focusing on three major program initiatives: 


Safe Communities is coordinating a Zero Suicide partnership that includes all area health care systems, as well as community organizations with a role to play in suicide prevention. The initiative is modeled after Henry Ford Health Care System’s program, which demonstrated an 80% reduction in suicide among health care plan members.


Safe Communities offers a free training where participants learn the warning signs for suicide, risk and protective factors, theories that drive suicidal behavior, how to offer hope, and how to seek help to save a life.


Safe Communities launched a replication of New Hampshire’s Project Connect Guns Shop Project in 2016. The program is promoted on Harvard University’s Means Matters website as a means reduction strategy.





UnityPoint Health-Meriter Foundation

Journey Mental Health Center

The Medical Staff of UnityPoint Health-Meriter

UW Health

Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin

Community Outreach Partners