News Archive



For Immediate Release:                                             
Sept. 3, 2013                                                              
Governor Dalrymple Proclaims Suicide Prevention Month in North Dakota
BISMARCK, N.D. – Governor Jack Dalrymple has proclaimed September as Suicide Prevention Month in North Dakota.
According to the North Dakota Department of Health, North Dakota ranks fourteenth in the nation for its rate of suicide deaths. Suicide was the eighth leading cause of death in 2012 among North Dakotans. In 2012, 107 North Dakotans died as a result of suicide.
Suicide affects everyone, but some groups are at higher risk than others. Suicide affects people of all ages and races in North Dakota, but suicide rates have typically been higher in the Native American population and for men. Men are four times more likely than women to die from suicide, but women are three times more likely to attempt suicide.
“Being aware of the warning signs of suicide and being willing to talk about suicide is so important,” said Micki Savelkoul, Suicide Prevention Program director for the Department of Health. “Suicide is a very complex and multi-faceted condition. There is rarely one cause for suicide.”
Savelkoul says that when you see behavioral changes in people, don’t be afraid to ask them if they are suicidal, even if the answer is no. People are much more likely to talk to people they trust when first disclosing suicidal thoughts and you won’t put a suicidal thought into someone’s head if they weren’t thinking about suicide previously. There are many evidence based or best practice community trainings such as Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) or Sources of Strength that provide community members education on what warning signs to watch for, how to talk about suicide and how to get someone help.
Risk factors for suicide include, but are not limited to:
The warning signs of suicide can include changes in a person’s mood, diet or sleeping pattern; increased alcohol or drug use; withdrawal from friends, family and society; rage or uncontrolled anger; and reckless behavior
Some of the ways to be helpful to someone who is threatening suicide include:
The North Dakota Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention raises funds for scientific research, education and treatment programs, as well as programs to support those who have lost loved ones to suicide. This year, six “Out of the Darkness” Community Walks are scheduled in North Dakota to raise funds for suicide prevention and awareness. The events are planned for the following: Bismarck (Sept. 7), Minot (Sept. 7), Dickinson (Sept. 14), Williston (Sept. 15), Fargo (Sept. 22), Valley City (Sept. 29). For information about locations and starting times, contact Mary Weiler at or
The North Dakota Department of Health, the North Dakota Department of Human Services, the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission, Mental Health America of North Dakota, and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are partnering with local organizations, tribal agencies, the Veterans Administration, North Dakota National Guard, and community partners to address suicide prevention through the North Dakota Suicide Prevention Coalition.
For information about developing local prevention programs or for more information about suicide prevention or information about the Suicide Prevention Coalition, contact Micki Savelkoul, North Dakota Department of Health, at 701.328.4580. Please note: Proclamation follows.
WHEREAS, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the third leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24; and
WHEREAS, in the United States, one person dies by suicide every 15 minutes; and
WHEREAS, suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in North Dakota and is a concern across all age and cultural demographics; and
WHEREAS, agencies and individuals across North Dakota are working to prevent suicide; and
WHEREAS, North Dakotans are encouraged to learn the warning signs of suicide and to get appropriate help for themselves and their family members who are at risk.
NOW, THEREFORE, as Governor of the State of North Dakota, I do hereby proclaim September 2013, SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH in the state of North Dakota.
Jack Dalrymple
Please note: To access archived news releases and other information, visit the North Dakota Department of Health Press Room at



Funding announcement for medical facilities

Posted 10/16/13 (Wed)


Funds Available for Depression and Suicidal Ideation Screenings within Medical Facilities
The North Dakota Department of Health Suicide Prevention Program announces the availability of funds for standardized depression and suicidal ideation screenings (such as the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ2/PHQ9) within medical facilities, including, hospitals, primary care, and specialty clinics.
We are currently requesting proposals for the January 15, 2014-December 31, 2015 funding period for these funds. There is no match requirement. Funds may be used for staff training, patient screening time, and electronic medical record changes to incorporate the screening tool. Grant requests must be limited to $30,000.
This grant opportunity is to assist medical facilities in developing and implementing a policy for detection of suicidal ideation, a suicide prevention policy, and a referral network for patients that have expressed suicidal ideation.
Why Depression and Suicidal Ideation Screenings are needed:
Nationally, someone dies by suicide every 15 minutes. In 2012, 107 North Dakotan’s died by suicide, which equates to someone dying by suicide every 3.5 days. Suicide occurs across all ages, genders, and races. There is a wide variance of those that attempt suicide that die. Typically for every one person under the age of 24 that dies by suicide 200 will attempt. For every one person over the age of 65 that dies by suicide four will attempt. Prevention and early intervention is key in reducing our suicide rate.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 77 percent of individuals who died by suicide had visited their primary care doctor within the last year. Forty-five percent had visited their primary care doctor within the last month; the question of suicide was seldom raised (SAMHSA).
Progress Reports
Quarterly reporting is required; reports should include depression and suicide screening policy that the medical facility has adopted and implemented, submission of de-identified screenings of all patients over the age of 14 screened on the data base provided by the Department of Health for collection. Narrative reports on project progress will be required semi-annually falling on the same dates below (July 1, 2014 and January 15, 2015)
Reporting Period                                                          Required Deadline
January 15, 2014 – March 30, 2014                            April 15, 2014
April 1, 2014 – June 30, 2014                                     July 1, 2014 (narrative report due)
July 1, 2014- September 30, 2014                              October 1, 2014
October 1, 2014- December 31, 2014                        January 15, 2015 (narrative report due)
Request for Reimbursement
Grantees are required to submit request for reimbursement monthly. The request for reimbursement will not be processed if progress reports are not submitted by designated deadlines.
All progress reports and requests for reimbursement must be sent to the Suicide Prevention Program Director, Division of Injury Prevention and Control
Preference will be given to applications that clearly plan for sustainability of continued screenings after the grant expires. 
To apply for the funds, applicants must submit a plan for the depression and suicide ideation screening program. The plan should include the following:
1.            Name, address and phone number of contact person(s).
2.            Statement of need, describe the service area and patient population.  
3.         Describe the specific suicide problem in the service area.
4.                 Description of the need for training and implementation.
5.         Time line for policy development, education of staff, and implementation of patient screenings.
6.         Description of how staff will be educated on the depression and suicide screening policy and how the policy will be implemented.
7.          Description of how patients will be referred to services and what services they will be referred.
8.          Sustainability plan to continue the depression and suicide screenings after the grant expires.
9.         Quarterly reports on progress of depression and suicidal ideation screening program and implementation (July 1, 2014 and January 15, 2015 narrative progress reports are due in addition to the data reports.
10.          Proposed project budget.
The grant application can be found in the news section on the suicide prevention website.
Programs will receive notification of approval of their applications within 90 days of submission.
This is a competitive grant application, funded projects will be determined based on the depression and suicidal ideation screening application submitted to a review team at the Department of Health.
Applications are to be submitted electronically to Micki Savelkoul,, no later than 5:00 pm central time, November 10, 2013. Anything submitted after this deadline will be considered non responsive.  
For further information about the grant, contact:
Micki Savelkoul, MA
Suicide Prevention Program Director
Division of Injury Prevention and Control
North Dakota Department of Health
Bismarck, N.D. 58505-0200
Telephone: 701.328.4580


Fax: 701.328.2036