Mission & History

The La Crosse Area Suicide Prevention Initiative is committed to promoting awareness that suicide is a public health problem that is preventable. Our goals are:


To increase awareness about suicide prevention throughout the greater La Crosse community through the annual Suicide Summit, annual Awareness Walk, annual Dance for Hope, ongoing QPR Training and distribution of written information via the SPI Website and numerous educational events and fundraisers.


To support and establish legislation at the state and national levels related to Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Insurance Parity.


To increase access to care for at-risk populations by: reducing the stigma associated with help-seeking and raising the public's knowledge of risk factors for suicide, the warning signs, and preparedness to respond.


To assist communities in creating suicide-safe environments by: providing information to obtain gun safety locks and encouraging safe storage of firearms, supporting pill collections where community members can safely dispose of unused medications, providing information regarding Crisis Intervention resources.

Our History

The La Crosse County Medical Examiner reports indicated that 24 completed suicides were reported in La Crosse County in 2017. See county statistics for additional years.

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. In 2011 achieved tax exempt status as a non-profit organization.

The end of 2017 completed 13 years 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 January 2018. SPI has participated in the Oktoberfest parade, Rotary Lights and holiday parade, Care & Share Expo, Donut Run, area golf outings, and been the featured organization at a Loggers game.

The organization has sponsored an annual Suicide Awareness Event each fall (2018 will be our 10th year), and a successful Suicide Summit with national speakers for the past 9 years in La Crosse, with yearly attendance exceeding 300. Additionally, SPI sponsors an annual Dance for Hope for the La Crosse community which will hold its 8th annual event in the spring of 2018.

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.

MEETING LOCATION: Gundersen Behavioral Health, 123 16th Ave So, Onalaska WI

TIME: 3:00 to 4:30 PM (unless otherwise noted)


  • January 4th

  • February 1st

  • March 1st

  • April 5th

  • May 3rd Board Meeting 2:30-3; Membership Meeting 3-4:30

  • June 7th

  • July 5th

  • August 2nd

  • September 6th

  • October 4th

  • November 1st Board Meeting Only

  • December 6th


2018 IRIS AWARD Recipient: Tim Blumentritt
Tim received the IRIS Award from NAMI for outstanding work each year that is making a difference in the region by helping to combat stigma and saves lives of family members and friends in our communities. 

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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