A Gathering on Mental Health: Calling the Community Together

In partnership with Prevent Suicide Columbia County and other community organizations, Durward’s Glen Retreat & Educational Center will host “A Gathering on Mental Health” on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14, 2016.  This weekend conference brings in Deacon Tom Lambert, a national advocate on Mental Health from the Archdiocese of Chicago, and other local speakers and resources on mental health for panel discussions and break-out sessions. 

Register today to: 

*  Better understand the mental health continuum

*  Help reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems

*  Learn how to get help in times of crisis, refer those in need to community resources,
   prevent suicide, navigate the health care and social service systems,

   and take care of yourself.

*  Help create a more supportive church community

*  Have time to reflect and connect on the beautiful grounds of Durward’s Glen

*  And much more!  View session descriptions.

This event is open to all community members - including people living with mental health challenges, their families and friends, church or agency leaders, congregation members, and the general public.  Cost is $40 for pre-registration by May 1; $50 registration after May 1.  Limited scholarships are available if needed.  Continental breakfast and lunch included.

For more information, including session descriptions, and to register, visit
or contact Cathy Lins, Director of Durward’s Glen, at 608-356-8113 or theglen150@gmail.com. 

 We hope you will take advantage of this unique event and join us for this important discussion! 

Get in touch

Facts about suicide in our County and state

  • Compared to state averages, Columbia County has higher rates of suicide and suicide attempts.
  • In 2011-12, twenty four people died by suicide in Columbia County, an average of one person per month.
  • For every death by suicide, there are an estimated 25 suicide attempts.
  • 7-15% of suicides in Wisconsin are identified as Veterans
  • Adult men are more likely to commit suicide than adult women

Along with concerned citizens, members of the following local organizations regularly attend Prevent Suicide Columbia County meetings.  Join us!  All are welcome.

  • Columbia County Health and Human Services
  • Counseling Centers:  Compass Counseling, Pauquette Center for Psychological Services
  • School Districts:  Cambria-Friesland, Fall River, Lodi, Pardeeville, Portage, Poynette, and Wisconsin Dells
  • Law Enforcement:  Portage Police Department and the Columbia County Sheriff's Department
  • Health Care:  Divine Savior Healthcare, UW Healthcare
  • Elected Officials

Member organizations

Prevent Suicide Columbia County meets the third Thursday of each month from 1:00 to 2:30 pm at the Columbia County Law Enforcement Center at 711 E. Cook Street in Portage, Wisconsin.  See map at the bottom of the page and contact us for more information. 

Recognize the signs of suicide and depression.  Get trained in QPR-- learn how to "Ask a question and save a life." Find out about community resources. Get a free gun lock and discard of your unneeded prescription drugs. Make a donation.  Give hope. Become a partner in preventing suicide. 

News and events

help save a life

Join Us






is to prevent suicide through awareness, education, collaboration, and improved access to mental health care, and to support those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Raeanna Johnson, Miss Wisconsin 2014, speaks openly about her experience with depression after losing her brother Tyler to suicide.  For more Dinner for Hope photos, visit us onFacebook. 

  • ​You're invited to "A Gathering on Mental Health" at Durward's Glen on May 13-14. See below for details!
  • Register  today for Prevent Suicide Wisconsin's 6th annual conference, Communities in Action for Suicide Prevention: Best Practices for Hope & Resilience, on April 27, 2016 in Stevens Point.
  • Suicide Loss Support Groups now forming. Contact us for more information.
  • Join us for our monthly coalition meeting:  third Thursdays at 1pm.  See below for meeting location.

Prevent Suicide Columbia County thanks the Welsh Prairie Livewires 4-H Club for their outstanding contribution in support of our suicide prevention activities.   You have touched our hearts.  We are truly impressed with your courage, your fundraising skills, and the dedication of your student and adult volunteers.

4-H member Allison Schwark (right) presents facilitator Sara Jesse with a check in the amount of $5,533 at the coalition's June meeting.  From left to right in the back row:  Morgan Jones, Abbigail Schwark, Owen Jones, and Cheryl Schwark

A special Thank you to the welsh prairie livewires 4-h club

Or Donate Online:

meeting location

Prevent Suicide Columbia County meets the third Thursday of each month from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the Columbia County Law Enforcement Center in the community room on the first floor at 711 E. Cook Street in Portage, Wisconsin, 53901.

Click  here  for other crisis lines and resources.

join our mailing list

Stay up to date on the latest news and information from Prevent Suicide Columbia County.  Simply send us and email with "subscribe" as your subject.  If you'd like, include in the body of the email your name, organization (if applicable), mailing address, and phone number.  Personal information will not be shared with anyone outside of Prevent Suicide Columbia County.

Prevent Suicide Columbia County would like to extend its sincere appreciation to Columbia County businesses, organizations, and residents for their support of our second annual Dinner for Hope.  About 85 people dined with us at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Portage on May 2, 2015.  A delicious spaghetti dinner was prepared by volunteers, who also decorated the hall in 60's style, complete with a bead curtain, tye-dye, fuzzy dice, LP records and Elvis posters.  Guests were decked out in their finest 60's attire, with bell bottoms, feathers, and tie dye.  Raeanna Johnson, Miss Wisconsin 2014, opened up to share her experience of losing her brother Tyler to suicide.

The event raised money to fund our local suicide prevention activities, which include public information campaigns, QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention training, survivors of suicide loss support groups, and increasing access to mental health services. 
Our coalition was delighted to have so many people donate their time and money to support our cause. 
30 local organizations and families donated 50 items to our silent auction.  In addition, nearly all the food and other supplies were donated.  Thank you for your support!

Thank you for supporting our second annual Dinner for hope:  Back to the 60's TonighT                

We were delighted to receive a check in the amount of $5,533 from the Welsh Prairie Livewires 4-H Club in support of our suicide prevention efforts.  The funds were raised at their second annual Shamrock Shuffle 5K Run/Walk, which took place on March 8, 2014 in Cambria.  Each year, the youth decide which organization should benefit from their run/walk.  This year, they chose Prevent Suicide Columbia County. 

Sadly, suicide affects Columbia County residents of all ages. The youth decided to donate to our organization because many of them had experienced the loss of a family member, friend, or teacher to suicide.  Several of the 4-H youth members and their families attended our Signs of Suicide  Walk for Hope last year, where they volunteered, walked, and participated in our balloon release, writing messages to loved ones who had died by suicide, attaching them to balloons, and releasing them to the sky.  

  • Suicide is the second most common cause of death after car accidents for Wisconsin youth.
  • For middle and high school students, females and minorities are more likely to be depressed, contemplate suicide, and attempt it than males and whites.
  • A 2012 survey revealed that within the previous 12 months, 30% of female high school students in Wisconsin reported feeling sad or hopeless for 2 weeks in a row; 17% had seriously considered suicide, and 8% had attempted it.

Our Vision

is a suicide-free community where people will recognize the warning signs, intervene, and help individuals find hope.