La Crosse Area Suicide Prevention Initiative

About Us

(2002 Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Strategy: Executive Summary) Almost 600 people die by suicide each year in Wisconsin. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Wisconsin young people and the tenth leading cause of death for all ages. Our state suicide rate is more than three times greater than the state homicide rate and nearly eight times greater than the number of deaths related to HIV.

The Wisconsin Strategy called upon people in local communities all over the state to take action to prevent suicide. Ultimately, effective suicide prevention efforts have to take place at the local level, where local needs and resources are best understood.


La Crosse County Medical Examiner reports indicated that 14 suicides (13 confirmed, 1 suspected) occurred in La Crosse County in 2004. In 2011 another 14 completed suicides were reported in La Crosse County. The ages of those completing suicide for 2011 were from 18 to 87 years old, male and female, and from varied backgrounds.


Local Initiative

During the summer of 2004 a group of providers, consumers, and community members formed the La Crosse Area Suicide Prevention Initiative (SPI). The group's mission is to increase public awareness that suicide is a problem in our area, and that it is preventable public health issue.

The summer of 2016 completes our 12th year of growth in the La Crosse area. The organization has grown from 5 or 6 core members in 2004 to more than 30 highly committed members in 2016. SPI members have participated in the Oktoberfest parade, volunteered for Rotary Lights and participated in the holiday parade, and been the featured organization at a Loggers game.

The organization has sponsored an annual Suicide Awareness Event each fall (2017 will be our 9th year), a successful Suicide Summit with national speakers for the past 8 years in La Crosse with yearly attendance exceeding 300. Additionally, SPI sponsors a Dance for Hope for the La Crosse community which will hold its seventh annual event in the spring of 2017.

SPI members have also provided information on suicide awareness and prevention at many local health fairs and events and shared their personal stories of hope that included the message that suicide is preventable. Each year SPI has targeted a specific population and provided increased awareness, education, and support for that population to aid in suicide prevention. We are pleased to also offer QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) training to groups within the community upon request. In 2011 SPI also achieved tax exempt status as a non-profit organization.


2017 IRIS AWARD Recipient
In May SPI received the Iris Award from NAMI for its outstanding work each year that is making a difference in the region by helping to combat stigma and save the lives of family members and friends in our communities.

2017 HOPES Award Winner
In April SPI received the HOPES Award that is given annually to an individual or organization who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to suicide prevention. The award gets its name from HOPES-Helping Others Prevent and Educate About Suicide, an organization of suicide loss survivors dedicated to Wisconsin suicide prevention efforts.

JUDY SHOULTS 2013 MHC Shining Star Award Recipient
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DEB MAHR 2013 NAMI Award Recipient
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Contact us

If you would like more information on SPI's efforts, QPR training, or are interested in becoming involved please contact:

Geri Mulliner, RN
Gundersen Lutheran Behavioral Health
123 16th Avenue So
Onalaska WI 54650
Phone: 608-775-3689


If you or someone else may be suicidal, or in the case of any mental health emergency, please call 911 or 211 for immediate assistance.