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Destination Zero Opens Dialogue Surrounding Suicide Awareness


Destination Zero is an initiative funded through the state that aims to grow a more collaborative approach to suicide prevention. Tammi Kohlman is the coordinator here in Fond du Lac County. Kohlman says people other than just doctors and social workers can play a huge role in preventing suicide. 

She tells us “the approach with Destination Zero is that we want to involve other sectors as well. So employers and business groups, veteran service groups, higher education groups, clergy – all of those sectors are important and have a role to play.”

Kohlman adds that there is training available for those kinds of people, and “the employer groups training supervisors and managers so they know how to respond to their employees who are in distress. And recognizing those signs and knowing how to get help for their employees. Because the big thing is – people spend about 40-percent life at work.  And that’s far more often than the one time a year they may go to their doctor. So we want to make sure everybody has those skills.”

Kohlman also tells us opening a dialogue can help. She says “one of the most important first steps is just to ask. Just directly and in a very caring manner, ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. It’s scary and it’s very hard to do, but the one thing people are afraid of is – that by asking such a question – they’re going to plant the idea or potentially offend somebody.”

Kohlman adds that it’s better to have a friend that is offended that have one that takes the next step towards suicide. It is Suicide Awareness Week - and September is Suicide Awareness Month. 

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