Last year, 2017, more South Dakotans died by suicide than ever before, 192.  Suicide has become the ninth leading cause of death among all South Dakotans and the second leading cause of death among 15 to 34 years-olds.

“Suicide is a leading cause of death in South Dakota—and it’s a tragedy for families and communities across the state,” Kim Malsam-Rysdon, South Dakota Secretary of Health, said in a statement. “From individuals and communities to employers and healthcare professionals, everyone can play a role in efforts to help save lives and reverse the current trend.”

From 2004 to 2017 there have been 1927 reported suicides in South Dakota. The age ranges break down like this:

  • People under 20: 251
  • 20-29: 403
  • 30-39: 312
  • 40-49: 344
  • 50-59: 304
  • 60+: 313

In the Sioux Falls region (Lake, Moody, Minnehaha, Lincoln, and Turner counties) there have been 503 reported suicides between 2004 to 2017. With the highest rates for people in their 40's (115).

The cause of a suicide often linked to mental health, but professions say that there is rarely one single factor. According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), more than half of suicide victims are not known to have a diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Other issues often contribute to suicide, such as those related to relationships, substance use, physical health and job, money, legal or housing stress. Pinpointing the exact factors is often difficult however.

South Dakota has resources available to help individuals that are contemplating suicide and support for those who have lost loved ones. If you need help, you can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime, day or night. 

Help can also be obtained by contacting any medical provider such as a family physician, psychiatrist or hospital emergency room, as well as a Community Mental Health Center or other mental health provider in your area. If you believe someone is at risk for suicide, contact a professional immediately.

SDSuicidePrevention.org also provides communities and individuals with access to local data, prevention toolkits for specific populations as well as resources for survivors like a list of support groups in South Dakota.