Suicide rate reaches all-time high in South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – State officials say the number of suicides increased to an all-time high last year in South Dakota, while the number of calls to a suicide prevention help line has also climbed dramatically.

The South Dakota Department of Health reported 192 suicide deaths in 2017, a 36 percent increase from 2014 and the highest number ever recorded in the state. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in South Dakota and the second-biggest cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.

The Argus Leader reports prevention calls handled by the Helpline Center in Sioux Falls have nearly doubled in recent years.

State epidemiologist Josh Clayton says there’s no single reason for the increase, though risk factors include mental health, substance abuse and problems at work or with personal relationships.