The suicide rate for adults in Minnesota was the highest on record last year.
The Minnesota Department of Health says 726 people died by suicide in 2015 – so the rate was 13.1 per 100,000 people. Previously, the highest rate had been 13. That was set back in 1986.
Compared to 2014 when the rate was 12.2, last year’s figure was up 6 percent.
According to the department, the rise in suicides from 2014 to 2015 is mostly among men. In fact, their rates have been going up for years.
The suicide rate for men was 20.5 per 100,000 people, while women’s was only a fraction of that at 5.9 per 100,000, the Department of Health notes.
White men between 25 and 34 made up half the increase in suicides.
Meanwhile, suicides among “at-risk” groups – such as American-Indian Minnesotans and those between 45 and 64 years old – stayed about the same.
And for Minnesotans younger than 25, the number of suicides went down slightly. Recent prevention efforts have also focused on this age group.
Minnesota’s rise is generally in line with the rest of the country.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Minnesota’s rate of 12.2 suicides per 100,000 people was mostly in line with the national rate – 12.9 per 100,000 – in 2014.
Officials say suicide rates have been increasing in Minnesota and the U.S. since 2000, which is when the state recorded its record low suicide rate.
Suicide risks and prevention
The department says things like having meaningful relationships, coping skills, and safe and supportive communities can decrease the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts.
“More training of healthcare professionals and community members along with follow-up care is important in preventing suicides,” Dr. Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, said in a statement.
To read the department’s entire Minnesota State Suicide Prevention Plan for 2015 to 2020, click here.
There have also been some grants and funding efforts to reduce suicides.
Earlier this year, a $13.6 million grant from the state Department of Human Services made it so mental health crisis services could be available all across the state. Also, lawmakers in 2015 invested $47 million in mental health funding. The department called it the largest such investment in state history.
Suicide warning signs
Here are some suicide warning signs, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The more signs a person exhibits, the greater the risk, the department says.
- Talking about wanting to die.
- Looking for a way to kill oneself.
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Talking about being a burden to others.
- Increasing the use of alcohol or other drugs.
- Acting anxious, agitated or reckless.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
If you’re concerned about someone
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
- Do not leave the person alone.
- Remove firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
- Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.