Suicide rates jump in Minnesota, across US in recent years

New figures show Minnesota's suicide rate has jumped in recent years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released figures Thursday on suicide rates across the U.S. According to the report, the suicide rate in Minnesota jumped 40.6 percent over 18 years.

Dying by suicide isn’t a normal response to life’s adversities,” said Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). “It just isn’t.” 

Reidenberg understands the complexities of suicides, pointing out there are almost always multiple causes, including mental illnesses, substance abuse, a life change such as a job loss or a break up. Often, warning signs might be disguised and not everyone in that person's life sees them. 

“We know this is about an illness and as people get sicker and sicker and close to suicide, they can’t communicate to everyone very logically, very clearly – ‘here’s the step I’m going to take at this time and in this way,’” said Reidenberg. “If they did, we would all respond, but that isn’t how it works.”

Between 1999 and 2016, suicide rates in Minnesota increased across age, sex and racial groups. But the Star Tribune reports that lately the rates have been going up the most in rural parts of Minnesota.

In 2016, 745 suicides were reported in Minnesota. That continues a trend that began after 2010 when the number of suicides was 606.

The Minnesota Health Department has increased efforts to identify at-risk communities to help reduce suicides.

The report finds nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide in 2016.

The CDC recommends five steps to help someone at risk.

1. Ask.
2. Keep them safe.
3. Be there.
4. Help them connect.
5. Follow up.


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800-273-8255. The hotline has trained staff available 24/7 to help those in crisis. Everyone can play a role in preventing suicide by being aware of the warning signs of suicidal behaviors:

- Talking about wanting to die; feeling hopeless, trapped, or in unbearable pain, being a burden to others

- Looking for a way to kill oneself

- Increasing the use of alcohol or 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 believe someone is at risk of suicide:

- Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. (This will not put the idea into their heads, or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.)

- Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

- Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

- Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

- If possible, do not leave the person alone.