Our state wasn't alone, according to a report released Thursday (June 6) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death and is one of just three leading causes that are increasing, along with unintentional injuries and Alzheimer's disease.
Anne Shuchat M.D.is principal director at CDC.
Across the board in the USA, suicide rates were up 25.4 percent in that 17-year period.
Overall, almost 45,000 people died by suicide in 2016, which is more than twice the number of deaths from homicide, the CDC said. Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chair of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, says people may act depressed, become withdrawn or disinterested or make ominous comments before a suicide attempt.
She said she found it interesting in a tragic way that of those who committed suicide without a known mental-health problem, 55 percent died by firearm.
Experts note that mental illness may have been underreported in the study, either because the person who killed themself had not yet been diagnosed or because those left behind were not aware their loved one's condition.
"None of these is a sole explanation, and no one is ever selling these as sole explanation for our suicide rate in the Rocky Mountain West, but those are factors that contribute at the very minimum", he added.
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Men were not only more likely to die by suicide with no known mental health condition, but they were also more likely to die by using a firearm.
"I think this gets back to what do we need to be teaching people - how to manage breakups, job stresses", Moutier told the Washington Post. She says building a relationship and working together to solve their problems can open them up to the idea of using you as a release tool or someone to share their fears with.
"Those are the times to really support each other", Schuchat said. While the study did not look at the potential reasons why that might be, Schuchat offered a possible explanation. Among middle-age people across the country, marriage rates have declined, and social isolation has increased. "Suicide doesn't discriminate", Lyn Morris, LMFT, Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations for Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. That rate is 32% for the state of Indiana.
The rise in suicide rates was highest in the central, northern region of the US, with North Dakota, for example, seeing a 57.6 percent increase since 1999.
California's increase was half that with 15 percent.
Recommendations include comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention, which requires coordination from every sector of society from the government to community organizations.
The Minnesota Health Department has increased efforts to identify at-risk communities to help reduce suicides. "Every step feels like it's an uphill stretch, but you just keep going and keep going and eventually you get to that summit, and the view when you get there is just spectacular", he said.