Suicide rates in Michigan jump 33%, following national trend
The rate of suicides in Michigan increased by nearly 33 percent between 1999 and 2016, joining most other states across the country with a spike in the amount of people taking their own lives.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention made the statistics public this week, showing that the overall national rate of suicides increased by 25 percent. The only state to see a decrease was Nevada, officials said.
At least seven states saw an increase of suicides of at least 40 percent or higher, according to the CDC statistics.
"The fact suicide is increasing in Michigan as well as across the country is very concerning," said Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. "There are nearly 1,400 known suicides annually in our state."
Sutfin said that most suicide prevention work in Michigan is being done by local organizations and agencies. The state has a $736,000 federal grant for youth suicide prevention, and that has funded programs in Marquette and Oakland counties as well as training for mental health professionals and "gatekeepers" — those who have personal contact with many others in their community — to recognize and respond to people at potential risk for suicide.
Gatekeepers can be teachers, coaches, spiritual leaders, principals, law enforcement officers, school administrators and others.
State officials urge those who are considering ending their lives to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).