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Suicide Prevention Week: Know Risk Factors

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Thursday, September 13, 2018   

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Suicide rates have been on the rise since 1999, and Minnesota is not immune. From 2006 to 2016, the state's suicide rate jumped 40.6 percent.

During National Suicide Prevention Week, which continues through Saturday, it's noteworthy that U.S. suicide rates were highest for the north central region of the country.

Amy Lopez, suicide prevention program coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Health, says the state's increased rates of suicide fell into clear categories.

"Specific communities of color and tribal communities that have a disproportionate rate, in particular American Indian youth as well as white middle-aged males," she states.

Lopez says suicide rates also were higher for rural parts of Minnesota, and is now the second-leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 34.

In 2016, Minnesota reported 745 suicides compared with about 600 in 2010.

To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Suicide is one of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., a fact Lopez says is usually only noted when celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain or Kate Spade take their own lives.

Lopez says those worried about a friend or loved one should be aware of stressors that can cause people to consider suicide.

"There's a variety of risk factors involved in those that are suicidal, like, what was going on in that person's life before they died by suicide, some type of transitional period, like a loss of relationship, loss of job, financial stress," she points out.

Some suicides can be traced to mental health issues, but Lopez says often there are no advance signals.

"Signs can come in different forms, so I would say most of the time there are warning signs but they can be very difficult to catch, quite frankly," she stresses.

A 10-year study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed suicide increases across age, gender, race and ethnicity.

Historically, men have committed suicide at significantly higher rates than women, but the national rate among women increased by a staggering 50 percent between 2000 and 2016.


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