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

News and events



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.

  • 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.

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. 

Join Us



Prevent Suicide Columbia County E-News

Monthly updates of our coalition activities and suicide prevention news is available in a convenient email format.  Use the "Get in touch" contact form below to sign up for our e-news bulletins or download archived e-news here:

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.

Our Vision

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

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. 

help save a life

Or Donate Online:
  • ​​Save the Date for our 2017 Walk for Hope: Saturday, September 23 at 10 am at the Portage High School Track. 
  • Suicide Loss Support Groups are now meeting in Portage on the first and third Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30.  Contact us for more information.   
  • Learn 3 simple steps anyone can take to save a life from suicide.  Sign up today for a free 90-minute QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) Suicide Prevention Training.  Want to teach QPR?  Contact us for scholarship information!
  • The new website for a local substance abuse coalition includes a listing of local substance abuse treatment and prevention resources: PREVENTION AND RESPONSE COLUMBIA COUNTY

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

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. 


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.

Get in touch

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

Looking Back: our second annual Dinner for hope:  Back to the 60's TonighT                

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.

Click  here  for other crisis lines and resources.

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.  That 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 first annual Signs of Suicide  Walk for Hope in 2013, 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.  

 About 85 people dined with us at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Portage on May 2, 2015 as part of the Prevent Suicide Columbia County Dinner for Hope.  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!