A Simple Call Is All You Need to Get Help
There are a number of resources in Wisconsin that people can visit or talk on the phone with if they are having suicidal thoughts. These three specific organizations either work directly or indirectly with people who are considering suicide. If you are feeling suicidal or know someone that is considering suicide, you can always contact these organizations.
Address: Bureau of Prevention Treatment and Recovery
1 W. Wilson Street, Room 850
P.O. Box 7851
Madison, WI 53707-7851
The Wisconsin Council on Mental Health is the mental health planning council for the state. According to its website, it “reviews the mental health system’s progress towards achieving improved client outcomes and the adequacy of mental health services in the state.”
Julianne Dwyer, suicide prevention coordinator of the Wisconsin Council on Mental Health, works with those struggling with mental illness crises.
“Sometimes people will contact us … we have one of our staff who is well-versed in speaking with people who are experiencing a crisis,” Dwyer said.
Wisconsin Council of Mental Health serves as a mediator between the person in a crisis and the organization that will help them with the actual treatment plan.
“If people need more ongoing treatment, we work with a treatment locator and walk people through that,” Dwyer said.
It is not always an easy thing to admit that you have a mental illness and need treatment for it, so this organization works with other mental health organizations on the best ways to help those in need.
“Our role here is at the state,” Dwyer said. “The main thing we do is we work to improve the quality of services for people who are under care for behavioral health.”
Dwyer said that even though she does not directly work with individuals initially, there are some people at Wisconsin Council on Mental Health that do intervene directly with those in a crisis.
“Individual clinicians have made efforts to save people’s lives,” Dwyer said. “In my role, I am looking at the system to improve it. That way, [all of the work] is not placed on the therapist.”
Dwyer administers a contract funded with federal money that gets distributed to different areas in need of suicide prevention trainings and interventions.
“We need to find out what happens (if someone has died by suicide) – and what we can do to help,” Dwyer said.
Address: 600 W Virginia St # 502,
Milwaukee, WI 53204
Phone: (414) 276-3122
Mental Health America of Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization that promotes wellness, specifically mental health. This organization stresses the idea of living mentally healthier lives, and they provide help to those in search of a therapist.
“MHA is not a crisis center…we can refer folks to crisis services, but we are not first responders,” said Leah Rolando, suicide prevention specialist.
Rolando said that some of their main promotions are prevention services, early identification and intervention for those at risk, and finding the best method of care and treatment for individuals who are struggling.
Though MHA is not a crisis center, the majority of employees have a social work, counseling or psychology degree. These employees are required to have experience in helping those with initial crisis management and refer them to other programs that might help them.
“The workers use parenting, anger management, stress reduction, and a variety of other tools,” Rolando said.
These tools are meant to help those struggling with their issues before sending them over to a crisis center. They refer people to a place where they can get the care that they need.
Rolando has had many experiences, and she was kind enough to share a success story.
“A person from a group home called MHA with suicidal thoughts and I talked with them on the phone for about 30 minutes. I completed a CSSRS assessment to identify that they did not present imminent risk,” Rolando said. “I gave them the Suicide Prevention Lifeline number and the Crisis Text Line number for ongoing support and made sure they were connected with a worker in the group home. They thanked me and told me they just wanted someone to talk with and listen to them.”
In an emergency event, this crisis line is here to help those who are struggling. They will get the person connected with someone who can do a further analysis and properly diagnose them.
“[This person] was able to connect with resources following our conversation and said they would continue to work on their wellness,” Rolando said.
Address: 3200 S 3rd St #6
Milwaukee, WI 53207
Phone: (414) 344-0447
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a nonprofit organization that provides support and information to other people about the dangers of suicide.
Cheryl Wright, volunteer at NAMI, wants people to know that therapists at NAMI are there for them.
“When you’re talking about someone contemplating suicide, we offer them the hotline number that they can call,” Wright said.
NAMI acts as a mediator for those who are looking to get in contact with a suicide prevention hotline or suicide prevention organization. In addition, NAMI also facilitates a peer support group for those who are struggling with mental illness.
“We are advocates that provide support and education to people in need,” Wright said. “We have a connection peer support group for people who have any type of mental illness. It is run by people who have had mental health issues. We learn through one another who has had the same experience.”
Wright does want to make it clear, however, that the people at NAMI are not therapists, and they are mediators and refer people to different places around Milwaukee where they can get the help that they need.
“We offer people a mental health and wellness resource guide, and we refer people to different hospitals and crisis centers in the Milwaukee county,” Wright said.
Wright mentioned that she strongly suggests reaching out to the suicide prevention helpline as well in case of an emergency situation. They can be reached at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or 1-800-273-8255.