Avera Behavioral Health

South Dakota Breaks Record for Suicide Deaths in 2017

Jul 24, 2018
South Dakota Department of Health

In 2017, South Dakota saw the highest number of suicides in state history. This is the second time the state has broken its own suicide record in less than five years.

The state Department of Health reports 192 South Dakotans died by suicide in 2017. State epidemiologist Dr. Josh Clayton says the last time the state broke this record was in 2015 with 173 suicide deaths.

“In 2017 we did see about 80% of the suicides from male individuals," he says. "The highest rate of suicides did come among the population of 20 to 24 year-olds.”

South Dakota’s rural communities often lack resources to combat drug and alcohol addiction. Thanks to a new grant, Avera Health is looking to expand its telehealth services in some under-served areas. 

The Health Resources and Services Administration is awarding Avera a $750,000  grant to expand its addiction recovery services. The project starts with the Avera clinics in Flandreau and Aberdeen.

Malia Holbeck is the outpatient manager for Avera’s addiction recovery program. She says telemedicine can help bridge the gap for areas that lack certain services.