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Suicide Rate in Minnesota Highest In a Decade

PHOTO: The Minnesota Department of Health is urging folks to take action when a friend, family or neighbor hints that they want to harm themselves. The suicide rate in Minnesota has reached its highest point since the early 1990s. Photo credit: epSos.de
PHOTO: The Minnesota Department of Health is urging folks to take action when a friend, family or neighbor hints that they want to harm themselves. The suicide rate in Minnesota has reached its highest point since the early 1990s. Photo credit: epSos.de
September 3, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The suicide rate in Minnesota has reached its highest point in a decade. According to Melissa Heinen, suicide prevention specialist with the Minnesota Department of Health, nearly 700 people in the state took their own lives in 2011, up 13 percent from the year before.

"In Minnesota, we have had an increase in suicides from 2010 and 2011, and this has been a trend for the last decade that we've had an increase in suicide deaths," she said. "And this is also in line with the national trend."

Heinen said that since suicide is preventable, the numbers indicate much more needs to be done to connect those who are considering harming themselves with services available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK or 8255.

The latest figures show most of the increase was among middle-aged men, possibly linked to troubles related to the recession and job losses. Heinen said suicide numbers among Minnesota young people remained about stable.

"And we've been doing a lot of prevention effort among our young adults and our youth, and it appears to be working and that's fantastic news," she declared. "We, sadly, though, haven't been able to put as much of a prevention effort on adults."

Nationally, the suicide rate among those ages 35 to 64 increased by nearly 30 percent between 1999 and 2010.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.

More information is at bit.ly/17ePgxI and at 1.usa.gov/171jvvo.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN