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November 12, 2019

10/18/2019 10:36:00 AM
SWCAP Annual Gala funds to be raised for farmer suicide prevention and programs
Did you know that the State of Wisconsin had a record number of suicides in 2018? The number of suicides have come predominantly from rural counties, and efforts are being made to bring awareness to the problem, as well as ending the stigma by "asking for help"
This year, Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program (SWCAP)'s "People Helping People" Gala takes place Thursday October 24, 2019 from 5:30-9 p.m. at Deer Valley Lodge in Barneveld, WI. The gala includes entertainment provided by Scott Stieber and Don Meyers, along with appetizers, community action awards and a cash bar. Emceeing the event will be Kevin Hineline. This year's auctioneer is Larry Springer.
This year's proceeds from the Gala go towards providing farmer suicide prevention services and programs. SWCAP started a farmer suicide prevention project in January through a $50,000 grant from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health's Wisconsin Partnership Program. This was in response to the increased number of farm related suicides in western Wisconsin.
Sue Judd, founder of Suicide Prevention Coalition of Iowa County, will be at this year's gala. She founded the organization in 2014 to, in its mission statement, "prevent suicide through awareness, education, collaboration, and improved access to mental health care."
She stated that she was happy that funds will be raised towards this cause in the hopes that it will help farmers find the courage to speak up when they are struggling.
"Farming, that's their career, and they have a difficult time talking about their feelings and asking for help when it comes to emotional situations," Judd said. "It's just trying to help rural communities understand that they need to reach out and talk to their farmers, and also letting the farmers know that it's safe and okay to reach out and ask for help."
Growing up in a rural community, Judd knows all too well what goes on in the mind of a farmer.
"In a rural community, we were never taught that it was okay to show our emotions male or female," Judd said. "You don't show your emotions, you don't cry, you don't talk about how you're feeling, because that's perceived inaccurately as a weakness. We were taught that growing up and it's not any fault of our parents, because they were taught that by their parents."
The gala has a fundraising goal of $40,000 to fund suicide prevention programs. There are many auction items available on the night of the gala.
One thing important to mention is that these funds go directly towards suicide prevention efforts.
"The funds come right back to our communities, right back to Southwest Wisconsin," Judd said. "As a community, we need to embrace talking openly more, exchanging thoughts and not degrading anybody for getting emotional or feeling upset or saying that they need help. It's actually listening to them and trying to find them the resources."
Tickets for the gala are available online at

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