Facts and Statistics

Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death overall, and the second leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15 and 24. North Dakota’s suicide rate, while declining in recent years, has increased steadily over the last decade. This mirrors the national trend, but like many other rural states with aging and high risk populations (i.e. American Indian, working-aged men), North Dakota’s suicide rate is higher than the national average.

It has been estimated that for every completed suicide there are as many as 25 more people who at­tempt suicide but do not die (American Association of Suicidology, 2008). In 2015, 1,870 North Dakota residents called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, requesting support for suicidal thoughts or actions (reported by North Dakota’s crisis-line service provider, Firstlink Fargo).

Dial 211 for to connect with service providers in your area.

The following graph compares the United State of America’s suicide rate to that of North Dakota. The rate is measured per 100,000 people. 

Talk therapy has been shown to reduce rates of suicide. Two types shown to be effective are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). It is important to note that therapy is often a very personal thing and what works for one person may not work for another. However when people get effective treatment, 80 percent are treated successfully. If treatment isn't working, talk to your mental health professionals. Medication also can be an effective part of treatment and should be discussed with your physician and mental health team.

Common myths and facts

Myth: Most  suicides occur with little or no warning.

Fact: Most people communicate warning signs of how they are feeling. Warning signs may be direct statements, emotional reactions or behaviors.

Myth: Talking about suicide with someone may give them the idea to complete suicide.

Fact:  Talking about suicide does not create nor increase the risk. The best way to identify those thinking of suicide is to ask them directly.          

Myth: Non-fatal attemps are only attention-getting behaviors.

Fact: For some people suicidal behaviors are serious invitations to others to help them live. Rather than punishing or reprimanding someone who has attempted, offer help and alternative solutions. All suicidal behaviors should be taken seriously.

Myth: A suicidal person clearly wants to die.

Fact: Most suicidal people are ambivalent about their intentions right up to the point of dying. Very few are absolutely determined to end their life. Most are open to an intervention, even a forced one.

Myth: Only a professional can help a suicidal person.

Fact:  Long-term care should be provided by a professional. However, it takes everyone knowing the warning signs and risk factors of suicide and immediate intervention to help save lives.    

Myth: Just because they talk about suicide does not mean they will go through with it.

Fact: Almost everyone who completes suicide leaves clues or gives warning that they are thinking of suicide. All  suicide threats should be taken seriously, no matter how casually said.

Information adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Marine Corps Community Services.