Skip to main content

Like the rest of the US, Minnesota's suicide rate among middle-aged men is up

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The number of middle-aged men taking their own life is growing, and has been for years.

In 2013, 683 people in Minnesota died by suicide, MPR reports, citing numbers from the state's health department.

Nearly one-third of those were males between 45 and 65 years old.

Years ago, in response to a reported increase in suicides among middle-aged men in 2011, the state's Department of Health commissioner said we "must do more to connect with those who are suffering and contemplating suicide."

Those numbers aren't specific to Minnesota, or to 2013.

From 2000 until 2009, the suicide rate nationally among men ages 45-54 climbed, from about 23 deaths per 100,000 people to about 29, according to numbers from the CDC. It also went up for 55- to 64-year-olds. (During that time, the rate for those 25-44 years old hasn't changed as much.)

(Note: The rate goes up for middle-aged women as well, but as a group, they are much less likely to die by suicide – in 2009, the rate among 45- to 54-year-old women was about 9.3 deaths per 100,000 people, one-third of what the prevalence is among men.)

Why this is happening isn't clear.

Julie Phillips, an associate professor at Rutgers, says her research found rates tend to go up for all middle-age generations – but even more so for the baby boomers.

In 2013, The Atlantic looked into what may be driving that increased risk for middle-aged men.

A lot of it, they suspect, is tied to societal connections. Statistics show men without a college degree usually become most disconnected from "core" institutions – a job, a spouse and civil society – compared to men with a college degree. Suicide statistics show men without a degree are the most likely to take their own life, the magazine says, which suggests there may be a link.

SAVE, a Minnesota-based suicide awareness nonprofit, recently began a male-targeted ad campaign to try to address the problem.

Last summer, the Minnesota Department of Health put together a suicide awareness report for lawmakers, outlining work it has done since 2000 in an effort to lessen the number of suicides.

That year, a state prevention plan was put in place, but it was revised in 2007. It's a series of grants and outreach programs, as well as plans for educating Minnesotans and showing suicide is a preventable public health problem.

MPR says the department recently unveiled an updated draft of the plan.

Next Up

Jay James Olson

Sauk Rapids man pleads guilty to making, selling ghost guns

The 21-year-old would sell unserialized guns, silencers, auto-sears, and high-capacity magazines.

Pixabay - gray squirrel

Squirrel blamed for Friday power outage impacting over 5,000 homes

There's no telling when or where the squirrels will strike next.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 8.11.55 AM

Seattle man federally indicted in massive Bloomington fentanyl bust

The case is believed to represent the largest fentanyl bust in the Midwest.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 9.27.53 AM

Nicollet Diner to launch new, expanded home with a drag show

The new location will still feature the diner's classic offerings, as well as a new cabaret venue and cocktail lounge.

police tape, crime scene

Woman found dead at Minneapolis home was stabbed multiple times

LaTiffany Altanette Lessley was found dead in a north Minneapolis home Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 4.48.45 PM

Bloomington PD announce what's likely 'largest fentanyl bust in Midwest'

The case is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Sept. 27

This week's report represents data collected Sept. 21-27.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 2.56.10 PM

MN health officials warn of potential for measles outbreak amid rise in cases

A recent case among a child with no travel history is prompting heightened concern.

skid steer

Four-year-old boy dies in accident on western Wisconsin farm

The boy was struck by a skid steer, according to police.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 2.41.51 PM

Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge hits the market for $6M

The restaurant will remain open while the property is on the market.


Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 10.04.32 PM

Number of suicides in Minnesota decreased in 2020

While the number dropped, 723 people still died by suicide last year.