MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Although last year brought stress and suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, related joblessness and unrest in the Twin Cities, deaths by suicide in Minnesota declined in 2020 when compared to 2019.
According to a report released Wednesday, 723 people died by suicide in Minnesota last year. That marks a 14% decline compared to the year prior, when 830 Minnesotans died by suicide.
This breaks the general trend of suicides in Minnesota, as the number has generally been increasing each year over the last two decades.
While health officials underscored that last year’s suicide count is still a significant number of preventable deaths, they aren’t sure what led to the decline.
“We are not yet sure what impacts the COVID-19 pandemic had on this trend, but it is clear that we must continue to support people and communities to address the causes of suicide,” said Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, in a statement.
Although deaths by suicide dropped in 2020, deaths related to alcohol and drug overdoses rose, each leading to about 1,000 deaths. All three causes of death are believed to be factors in why life expectancy in the U.S. is declining, health officials say.
Regarding youth suicides in Minnesota last year, that number also dropped. In 2020, there were 98 suicide deaths for Minnesotans ages 24 and younger. That’s a 26% drop compared to 2019, when 123 Minnesota youths died by suicide.
For those suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts, there is help available at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Call 1-800-273-8255.
Also available is the hotline from the National Alliance on Mental Illness at 651-645-2948.