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Increase in adult suicides prompts call for greater prevention efforts

August 30, 2013

With the most recent available data showing Minnesota having the highest rate of suicide in more than a decade, state officials are highlighting the importance of knowing suicide warning signs and that mental illnesses are treatable and suicides preventable.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today released its most recent suicide data collected from 2011 death certificates. The data show a 13 percent increase in the number of suicides, from 606 in 2010 to 684 suicides in 2011.

Minnesota's prevention efforts are based on the evidence that suicides are preventable and mental illness is treatable. Key strategies include training health care professionals to identify individuals at risk for suicidal behavior, to assess them for risk and refer them to evidence-based treatment. Therapy and medications can help, and treating underlying conditions such as mental illness and substance abuse also reduces the risk of suicide.

"Every person lost is a life filled with potential and possibility cut short," said Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. "As the state agency responsible for statewide mental health treatment we need to make sure that help is available for people who need it. We made some good strides this past session by increasing mental health grants for children, increasing the number of mental health crisis teams and supporting innovative programs like Text4Life, but it's important we continue to focus on this critical issue."

More information is available in a MDH news release.

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