Increase in Suicide Rates in South Dakota and Wyoming Among Highest in Nation
Suicide rates rose 48 percent in South Dakota between 1999 and 2010, according to a new report issued by the U.S. Center for Disease Control. Wyoming, with 31.1 suicides per 100,000 population, had the highest rate in the country, up 78.8 percent between 1999 and 2010. Nationally, suicides exceeded deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents in 2009.
Demographically, the biggest increases in suicide rates came among middle-aged men and women. Among racial and ethnic groups, whites and American Indians experienced the greatest increases. The suicide rate among persons aged 35-64 rose 28.4 percent. Among American Indian/Alaska Natives, the rate increased 65.2 percent, while whites experienced a 40.4 percent increase.
Among regions of the country, the Midwest had the biggest increase in the suicide rate, while the West has the highest rate overall.
Firearms account for the greatest percentage of suicide deaths, followed by poisonings and suffocation.
The CDC notes that suicide prevention programs have traditionally focused on youths and older adults. This new data suggests that more needs to be done to reach middle-aged adults.
In the Black Hills, the Front Porch Coalition works to prevent suicide by raising awareness and offers support to survivors of suicide. According to the Front Porch Coalition, suicide is the sixth leading cause of death in South Dakota and the number two killer among persons aged 15-34.