WAUWATOSA, Wis. — The Kubly Family has made a $5 million donation to the Medical College of Wisconsin to establish the Dr. and Mrs. Michael C. Kubly Community-Based Suicide Prevention Research Program.
The program will be used to address the suicide crisis in Wisconsin, according to a news release from MCW. It will focus on access and interventions.
Billie Kubly and her late husband have a history of advocacy and philanthropic investments to reduce the stigma around mental health and further treatments. MCW said they've made previous contributions to mental health services for children and established the Charles E. Kubly Chair in Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine.
“I know that Mike would be pleased that this investment will help save lives in our community,” said Mrs. Kubly. “MCW is a trusted community partner when it comes to mental health issues and has the capacity to bring together stakeholders who will be committed to reducing suicides.”
The $5 million donation will be split in half. One-half will support a name faculty position for a "nationally regarded leader to coordinate suicide prevention efforts." The other half will fund the work of this faculty member and other staff who are developing mental health programs and conducting research.
“The pandemic has highlighted the prevalence of mental health issues in our community,” said Jon Lehrmann, MD, holder of the Charles E. Kubly Chair in Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, who sees patients at the Zablocki VA Medical Center. “The truth is that these conditions were already growing before the spread of COVID-19 and require an urgent community response.”
According to MCW, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. and ranks second among individuals aged 10 to 34. In Wisconsin, suicide rates went up 40% from 2000 to 2017.