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Indicator 2 0 : Suicide

Goal: Minnesotans will be healthy. This goal encompasses both physical and mental health throughout life. It is also aimed at reducing disparities in health status among racial and ethnic minorities. Indicators for the goal deal with both health status and health care.

Rationale: Suicide is an important public health indicator because it is a leading cause of premature death in Minnesota, and because it demonstrates the seriousness of mental health problems, including depression.

About this indicator: The suicide rate per 100,000 people declined from 12.3 in 1990 to 8.9 in 2000. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in Minnesota for people between ages 10 and 34, after accidental injury. It is the eighth-leading cause of death for all ages. Three times as many people in Minnesota die from suicide as from homicide.

Males account for approximately 80 percent of all suicide deaths in the state. The suicide rate for American Indians is consistently higher than for any other ethnic or racial group. Minnesotans 65 and older have the highest suicide rate of all age groups. The three leading methods of suicide in Minnesota are firearms, suffocation and poisoning.

The Minnesota Department of Health goal is to reduce suicide by 20 percent for the general population and for all age, gender and race populations by 2004. Apart from saving lives, the aim is to reduce non-fatal suicide attempts and improve the social and emotional well-being of families and communities.

For comparison: Suicide rates are also falling nationwide. In 1998, the national rate was 10.6 per 100,000 population, compared to Minnesota's rate of 9.8.

Things to think about: In 1999, the Minnesota Department of Health prepared a plan to coordinate statewide efforts for suicide prevention. One emphasis of the plan is on public awareness and acceptance of mental health concerns.

Nationally, depression affects more than 19 million Americans each year, but it is estimated that only one in three people seek treatment. Each year, tens of thousands of people attempt suicide; 30,000 die.

Sources:

  • Minnesota Department of Health, Healthy Minnesotans, Minnesota Public Health Improvement Goals for 2004, www.health.state.mn.us.
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Report, www.cdc.gov/nchs

Related data trends:

  • State and county population, total
  • Related indicators:

    Other related indicators:

    • Student survey questions related to suicide, Minnesota Student Survey, (Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning, http://children.state.mn.us/)
    • Suicide rate by gender and age (Minnesota Department of Health, www.health.state.mn.us)
    • Leading causes of death for selected age groups by gender, race and ethnicity (Minnesota Department of Health, www.health.state.mn.us)

Technical problems? Contact: demography.helpline@state.mn.us