Minn. suicide rate edges upward

Published 2:55 pm Saturday, August 31, 2013

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s suicide rate has hit the highest point in a decade, health officials said Friday.

Suicides jumped 13 percent in 2011, to 684. That equaled a rate of 12.4 per 100,000 residents and was the highest since the early 1990s, the Minnesota Department of Health said.

The agency said much of the increase came in middle-aged men, and was highest within that group among men 55 to 59.

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Youth suicides — those in people under age 25 — increased slightly to 5.7 per 100,000 people.

Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger said the numbers show the importance of quickly offering help to people who are struggling.

Minnesota’s overall figures were in line with national numbers, and so was the state’s spike among the middle-aged. A reporter earlier this year from the Centers for Disease Control found a 28 percent jump in suicides among people ages 35 to 64, with some experts attributing it to lingering effects of the national recession.

Minnesota’s 2011 rate was up from 11.2 per 100,000 a year earlier.

Health officials said the state rate is higher in men and higher in the 25-to-64 age group. And they say the suicide rate is greater outside the metropolitan area — about 14 people per 100,000 in Greater Minnesota, compared with about 11 in the seven-county metro.