Experts react to spike in Minn. suicide rates

2:43 PM, Aug 31, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - According to the latest numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health, the rate of suicide in the state has increased 13 percent from 2010 to 2011.

"Minnesota had 368 traffic fatalities in 2011, 684 suicides," explained Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger.

Most of the increase involves middle-aged men, with the greatest rise in men 55 to 59.

"Females will talk about things that are going on in their life with their friends and even family more than males will," explained SAVE Executive Director Dr. Dan Reidenberg.

He said there's a stigma associated with men asking for help. Reidenberg also said more needs to be done at the annual checkup or physical to help detect initial signs that could lead to suicide.

"Most often males will go into their primary care physician and they will talk about headaches, backaches and neck aches and the doctor will try to address those issues and never ask about whether it's depression or it's anxiety that's taking place," said Reidenberg.

A state task force is now looking at these new numbers to help best strategize suicide prevention. One thing nearly everybody can agree on is that suicide is preventable.

"We know that treatment and early intervention works. Mental illness is treatable. People recover," said Dept. of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson.

Despite this latest news, Minnesota has the 10th lowest suicide rates in the United States.

More details and information about prevention can be found online at www.cdc.gov and www.save.org.

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