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Minnesota confronts a rise in suicide rates

Suicides are the eighth most common cause of death in Minnesota. Even though it's hard to see who is at risk, there are telltale signs. There are also resources available for those at risk and those who are trying to prevent a tragedy.
Credit: Health Fair 11
Know Your Numbers is a health campaign managed by Health Fair 11.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — It’s not easy to talk about death by suicide. The reasons why someone decides to end his or her life are complex. The emotions felt by loved ones left behind often result in the topic being swept under the rug. Even so, recent statics show suicide is a growing public health problem that experts say needs to be confronted head on.

According to the most recent statics available, 783 Minnesotans died by suicide in 2017. That’s a five percent increase over the previous year. From 1999-2017, suicide deaths increased by 53 percent. Minnesota Department of Health reports suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the state. Nationally, it is the tenth most common cause of death.

By the Numbers 

Statistics compiled by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention show:    and 

  • One person dies by suicide every 12 hours in Minnesota
  • White men account for seven out of ten suicides
  • By age and gender, the highest suicide rates are among white men aged 45 and older
  • Among Minnesota women, suicide rates DECREASED by 10 percent in 2017 (source Suicide in Minnesota MDH report)
  • American Indians/Alaskan Native men have the highest suicide rates by ethnicity
  • Suicide rates by veterans are 1.5 times higher than non-veterans
  • Suicide rates are higher in rural areas than urban areas       

Recognize and Learn 

People who are at risk for suicide seldom show outward signs of their inner struggles. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center  (SPRC)   uses the following list to identify people who are at risk:

  • Prior suicide attempt(s)
  • Misuse and abuse of alcohol or other drugs
  • Mental disorders, particularly depression and other mood disorders
  • Access to lethal means
  • Knowing someone who died by suicide, particularly a family member
  • Social isolation
  • Chronic disease and disability
  • Lack of access to behavioral health care

SPRC also notes that risk factors vary across age groups, genders, cultures, and exposure to traumatic life events.

If you are having suicidal thoughts and need to talk to a crisis counselor you have several options:

Help is available NOW!

 KARE 11 TV is working with SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) to provide tools to help prevent suicides. This information is for people who are at-risk and for others who are trying to help people in life-threatening situations. Use this link to find their extensive resource list. 

Know Your Numbers

This information is provided by Health Fair 11 as part of its Know Your Numbers Campaign.  Health Fair 11 is a non-profit organization that operates with the support of KARE 11 TV and UCare. Learn more at www.HealthFair11.org. To find out how your organization can become an official Health Fair 11 sponsor, email healthfair@kare11.com .

Resources use for this article

Minnesota Department of Health
America’s Health Rankings
Suicide Prevention Resource Center