suicide rates

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 Suicide Rates Increasing

Jun 8, 2018
NBC News

Suicide numbers in South Dakota have increased substantially in recent years. According to a recent report from the Centers For Disease Control, the state's suicide rates have increased 44.5 percent between 1999 and 2016. Experts say there are a number of factors responsible. 

Suicide rates have been climbing nationally for a number of years but even higher rates have been seen throughout the Midwest. Doctor Randy Quevillon is the USD department chair of Psychology. He says rural areas see the highest density of suicides.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says he wants legislation designed to restrict the supply of methamphetamine in South Dakota.  Jackley says there's a nationwide meth epidemic, and South Dakota lawmakers have a chance to lessen its effects in the state. 

South Dakota’s State Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson is pointing to the success of drug courts in reducing recidivism.  During his annual State of the Judiciary speech, Gilbertson called for similar courts for veterans and mental health.