Suicide rate soars nearly 41% in Minnesota.

For local experts on mental health and suicide, the jump is not a surprise.

Adam Carter
June 07, 2018 - 5:17 pm

The Centers for Disease Control says suicide rates have jumped, and Minnesota has seen one of the highest increases.  

From 1999 to 2016, the CDC says the suicide rate has climbed nearly 41% in Minnesota. Sadly, to local experts on mental health and suicide, the jump is not a surprise.

"We've known that there's been these increases that have been happening," said Dr. Dan Reidenberg, Executive Director of SAVE, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.  "Whether you're talking about the recession in 2008, you're talking about the veterans who are coming back and have been serving in our military or even the senior veterans who are dying." He also points to the current opioid crisis accounting for more suicides.  

At 40.6%, Minnesota's suicide rate jump is one of the higher increases in the US.  Reidenberg said that can be attributed to a couple of factors.

"We know that in states with more rural areas we have higher rates of suicide, so the mountain-midwest states have higher rates, North and South Dakota and Minnesota," Reidenberg said.  North Dakota saw the highest rate increase, at 57.7%.

The ethnic makeup of Minnesota may also play a role.  Reidenberg said the Native American population has higher rates of suicide.  According to the CDC, rates of suicide among Native Americans/Alaska Natives have been increasing since 2003.

Reidenberg says the frustrating part is that there are not enough mental health services to deal with the people who need help.

"There's not enough therapists, there's not enough psychiatry, there's not enough people to actually work with people.  We're seeing more people reaching out for help, which is a great thing.  We still need more providers, and we still need more resources for people who want help."

Only one US state, Nevada, saw a drop in suicide rates during from 1999-2016, according to the CDC.