Wisconsin Speaker’s Task Force on Suicide Prevention Public Hearings

As many of you may know, suicide is the 9th leading cause of death in Wisconsin. We can no longer ignore this crisis and shy away from talking about it and taking action.

Recently Assembly Speaker Robin Vos formed a Task Force on Suicide Prevention. This task force is made up of members of the assembly from both parties. They are going to be travelling around the state and making stops to hear about the various factors impacting this very urgent public health crisis. The task force will first hear from invited guests then accept testimony from the public.

NAMI Wisconsin has long supported suicide prevention efforts such as the Lethal Violence Protection Order (also known as “Red Flag” Initiative or Extreme Risk Protection Order). This initiative would allow a family member to petition a court to have a firearm temporarily removed and safely stored if the individual posed a threat of violence to themselves or others. It has been passed in several other states with bipartisan support and has been shown to save lives.

Often times family members see warning signs but there are limited options for them or law enforcement to intervene. We know that firearms are the most lethal means of suicide and we need to protect these valuable lives. High risk groups include youth, tribal members, farmers, veterans, law enforcement and middle-aged white males. For these reasons, the task force wants to a take a deep dive into these communities and learn the challenges they face. After the public hearings have ended, the task force plans to put out a package of initiatives and we want this to be one of them.

Can I count on you to send a representative of your affiliate to attend a hearing near you?  

  • May 20 – La Crosse – La Crosse County Administrative Building – Health Care- 12 PM
  • June 17 – Ripon – Ripon College – Youth/Tribal
  • July 29 – Marshfield – Marshfield Clinic – Farmer
  • August 12 – Eau Claire – TBD – Veteran/Law Enforcement
  • September 9 – Milwaukee – Medical College of Wisconsin/TBD – Wrap Up

*times for June, July, Aug and Sept TBD. Please visit the taskforce’s calendar for up to date hearing info: http://committeeschedule.legis.wisconsin.gov/?committeeID=2074&viewType=Calendar

Furthermore, if you are a constituent of any of these members of the task force, please consider giving them a call or writing an e-mail. (Talking point below):

  • Representative Ballweg (Chair)
  • Representative Doyle (Vice-Chair)
  • Representative Schraa
  • Representative Tittl
  • Representative VanderMeer
  • Representative Stafsholt
  • Representative Duchow
  • Representative James
  • Representative Oldenburg
  • Representative Kurtz
  • Representative Sargent
  • Representative Kolste
  • Representative Anderson
  • Representative Brostoff
  • Representative B. Meyers

Link to their contact information: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2019/committees/assembly/2074

Talking point: “Hi my name is ___________ and I am a constituent and member of NAMI (insert affiliate name). I’m calling today to (share story of suicide if applicable). One initiative that could help save lives is the lethal violence protection order which allows family members to petition a court to have a firearm safely and temporarily removed from a home if the individual poses a threat of violence to themselves or others. As a member of the suicide prevention task force, can I count on you to support this effort and get it passed in Wisconsin?”

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.

Crystal Hester, MSW
Public Policy & Advocacy Director
Pronouns: She/her/hers
NAMI Wisconsin (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
4233 West Beltline Hwy
Madison, WI 53711
Ph (608) 268-6000
Fax (608 268-6004
www.namiwisconsin.org

NAMI Wisconsin Family and Consumer Resource Guide can be found here: http://www.namiwisconsin.org/navigating-the-system/

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