Monthly Archives: September 2013

Y5210 for Healthy Living

numbers circles_horizThe Fond du Lac Family YMCA is committed to helping kids, and their families, to get healthier. Y5210 was developed to encourage children to make healthy choices in order to decrease their risk of obesity and improve their health. Although the program was originally developed for children, the core principals can be applied to all ages.

The Y5210 program recommends that each day people should have at least:

•5 servings of fruits or vegetables

•2 hours or less of “screen time” (time spent watching TV, playing video games, or on the computer)

•1 hour or more of physical activity

•0 sugar-sweetened drinks

Recommendations for these focus areas come from the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Research shows that…

•5 – 25% of kid’s calories come from snacking. Increasing fruit and vegetables consumption is a focus point to help tackle obesity as well as fight other serious diseases later on in life, such as diabetes and cancer.

•2 – watching 4+ hours of TV per day increases your risk of obesity by 21.5%.

•1 – 33% of American kids are overweight or obese and physical activity is one important way to reduce this number.

•0 – drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can add 25 pounds over the course of a year.

The Y5210 classroom curriculum was piloted in 15 third grade classrooms in Fond du Lac County during the 2012-2013 school year. During the 2013-2014 school year, 26 classrooms will engage in the curriculum.

All people should aim to live Y5210 daily. Give it a try for your family and see if you can live Y5210 for a day, a week, or even longer for a healthy lifestyle. For more information about the Fond du Lac Family YMCA Y5210 program, visit our website at

Kya Schnettler                                                                                                 Community Wellness Coordinator                                                       Fond du Lac Family YMCA

Understanding Suicide

By Janet S. McCord, PhD, FT

Marian University
Associate Professor of Thanatology
Chair: Edwin S. Shneidman Program in Thanatology, Psychological Autopsy Investigator: United States Marine Corps (USMC) Suicide Prevention Psychological Autopsy Project

“Anyone who willingly enters into the pain of a stranger is truly a remarkable person.”

Henri J. M. Nouwen, In Memoriam

Suicide is difficult to understand, an act that seems senseless to some, selfish to others, and one that affects friends and family members deeply. In 2010, over 38,000 people in the United   States killed themselves. That means that there are 105 suicides every day, and someone in the United States kills him or herself every 13.7 minutes. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death (homicide ranks 16th), and the 3rd leading cause of death among youth (behind both accidents and homicides).  In the military, suicide is at an all-time high. Among active-duty, reserve and National Guard members, there is a suicide every 18 hours, and the number of suicide deaths outnumbered deaths due to combat in 2012.

Of the 38,364 suicide deaths in the United States in 2010, over 30,000 were males, nearly 35,000 were white/Caucasian, nearly 6,000 were elderly (over age 65) and nearly 5,000 were between age 15 and 34. Approximately one million Americans attempt suicide every year, one every 32 seconds. Wisconsin ranks 27th with 793 suicides in 2010, with a suicide rate of 13.9 per 100,000. Fond du LacCounty’s suicide rate is 13 per 100,000, mirroring the National rate. Suicide can happen to any family, anywhere.

Cause of Suicide

Suicide is a multi-faceted event with no single cause – most suicides occur because of a combination of risk factors, predisposition, and access to means. The actual cause of any given suicide is unique to that case, and causal elements vary widely. Common risk factors include demographics (white, native American, male, older, separated, divorces, early widowhood); a history of suicide attempts; prior suicidal thinking; a history of self-harming behavior (including in the family); substance abuse; hospitalization for any major psychiatric disorder; divorce; history of trauma or abuse; and history of impulsive or reckless behavior. There are also certain factors that can predispose a person to suicide, including a variety of psychiatric disorders; Traumatic Brain Injury; low self-esteem or high self-hate; a tolerant attitude towards suicide; exposure to another’s suicide death; bullying; and lack of familial or self-acceptance of sexual orientation. Contributory causes of suicide include firearm ownership or easy accessibility to firearms; acute or enduring unemployment; substance use; and stress (such as job, marriage, relationship). Any real or anticipated event causing or threatening to cause shame, guilt, despair, humiliation or loss of face can be a trigger, as can legal or financial problems, and feelings of rejection or abandonment.

After the fact: Surviving suicide

A “survivor” is someone who experiences a high rate of distress after a suicide death. It is estimated that there are 4.5 million survivors in the United States. Survivors of suicide often find themselves struggling with feelings of guilt, responsibility and blame, and are likely to experience isolation, rejection and stigma from neighbors and family. We also know that survivors of suicide have an increased risk of suicidal thinking or action.

What can you do?

It truly takes a village to prevent suicide, and every individual can help to prevent it in his or her community. Together as a community, we can help prevent suicide. Here’s what you can do:

  • Attend a “Gatekeeper” training: Anyone can take a Gatekeeper training such as QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer). QPR training takes just 90 minutes and is offered free throughout Wisconsin. Gatekeepers are people who regularly come into contact with individuals in distress, and are in a position to recognize a suicidal crisis and the warning signs of someone who may be contemplating suicide. Gatekeepers include teachers, police officers and health care workers, but are also include shopkeepers, grocery store clerks, volunteers, librarians, co-workers in every walk of life. The goal of gatekeeper training is to enhance the probability that a potentially suicidal person is identified and assisted – before an adverse event happens.
  • Encourage your local schools to offer ACT training for youth: ACT is a gatekeeper training for youth. It stands for “Ask and Acknowledge;” (Youth are encouraged to ask what is wrong if someone they know is differently,  to ask what is wrong and acknowledge feelings, rather than minimizing them); show Care and Concern (If the person says “yes,” “maybe,” “sometimes” or some other answer that makes the youth think they may be considering suicide, they are instructed to reassure him or her that the youth will be there to help and really listen to what he or she is saying) and Talk (youth are encouraged to seek help immediately from a trusted adult if they have concerns about a person harming him or herself, and to stay with the person until help is found).
  • Encourage families to participate in YScreen: Emotional health screening and support in accessing mental health services for youth, available through YScreen, formerly known as TeenScreen, is offered to 9th grade students at every school throughout Fond du Lac County and any student ages 12 and older can be screened by request. For more information on youth emotional health screening in Fond du Lac County, visit or contact the YScreen office at 906-6700 extension 4714.
  • Secure your firearms.  One of the best things you can do to prevent the risk of suicide by use of firearms is to reduce the access to lethal means. Another preventative measure is to use gun-locking cabinets accompanied by gun locking mechanisms on the firearms. Trigger gunlocks are available FREE at the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office, 920-929-3390 and from Marian University Department of Thanatology, (920-923-8952). If someone in your household may be suicidal, it is best to remove guns from the premises.
  • If you are a survivor or know a survivor: Support groups can be helpful for those bereaved by suicide and are available throughout Wisconsin. If you know someone who might benefit from support services, locate a support group and offer this information. Support groups can be located through the following websites: (by zip code or state);; and
  • Get informed. Following are important resources that will help you understand how real, common and treatable some mental health disorders are:
    1. Comprehensive Service Integration of Fond du Lac: Information and local resources for mental health and substance use concerns
    2. Suicide Prevention Resource Center
    3. Mental Health of America
    4. Prevent Suicide Wisconsin
    5. Center for Suicide Awareness
    6. Helping Others Prevent and Educate about Suicide
    7. National Mental Health Information Center
    8. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
    9. American Association of Suicidology

Other Resources:

  • Fond du Lac County mental health crisis line is 920-929-3535 and is available 24 hours a days, 7 days a week.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always available at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. Virtually all calls to this helpline are answered in Wisconsin at a crisis center closest to you. Otherwise contact the person’s physician, a local mental health professional, a clergyperson or another trusted professional.

Excessive Alcohol Use Costs Fond du Lac County $118 Million per Year

In March 2013 the “Burden of Excessive Alcohol Use in Wisconsin Report” was released highlighting the economic burden excessive alcohol use has on local communities as well as the state. For Fond du Lac County, the costs are nearly $1,163 a year per person, or almost $4,700 for a family of four. According to the report, more than 40 percent of the costs of alcohol over-consumption are shouldered by taxpayers.

The costs are driven by Wisconsin having the highest binge drinking rate (25.6%) in the nation. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks per occasion for men and four or more drinks for women. The state also has the highest intensity of binge drinking, with binge drinkers reporting an average maximum of nine drinks per occasion. Fond du Lac County has a 22% binge drinking rate.

Excessive alcohol use leads to drunk driving, lost productivity at work and health problems including unplanned pregnancies, falls, drownings and assaults. The monetary amount of excessive alcohol use is clear, however we cannot measure the economic impact of when alcohol destroys a family or causes the loss of a life.

Drug Free Communities of Fond du Lac County works to identify ways to reduce both underage drinking and binge drinking.  The coalition has worked with law enforcement to implement OWI and party patrols as well as local community events to implement alcohol management practices.

The Burden of Excessive Alcohol Use in Wisconsin Report along with the Fond du Lac County data can be viewed at: