News release: Minnesota sets goal of zero youth suicides

News Release
March 27, 2018

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Minnesota sets goal of zero youth suicides

Sixteen behavioral and health care organizations attend Zero Suicide Academy

The Minnesota Department of Health is working with community partners in five regions of the state to reduce youth suicides, the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 24.

In 2016, 111 Minnesotans between ages 10 and 24 died of suicide. Minnesota has a higher rate than the U.S. average (10.2 per 100,000 versus 9.6 per 100,000) for this age group.

“By focusing on the goal of zero youth suicides, we want to highlight that these tragedies are preventable,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “We believe that by working together with communities we can and must do more to help young people facing severe depression or other mental health crises.”

Communities are working with the MDH Community Partners Preventing Suicide Program to implement a comprehensive public health approach. One example of a comprehensive approach in behavioral health and health care is the Zero Suicide model. This model aims to improve outcomes for people at risk of suicide in health care systems, with a focus on safety and reducing errors. In addition, Minnesota’s effort focuses on identifying and connecting youth who are at risk with services and building healthy communities that empower and support youth and families.

The Community Partners Preventing Suicide program is working with 16 health and behavioral health care agencies across the state. As a first step, agencies participated in the Minnesota Zero Suicide Academy in February and an additional day in March for Minnesota Tribal Nations. The academy offered training for leaders from health and behavioral health care systems. Over the course of the next year, participants from the academy will work to implement the Zero Suicide model within their hospitals and behavioral health care clinics. The core components of the model include commitment from leadership, standardized screenings and risk assessment, care management plans, data collection, effective treatments and consistent patient follow up, particularly during care transitions.

Agencies that participated in the academy included Avera Health, Cass Lake Indian Health Services, CentraCare Health, Hennepin County Medical Center, Hennepin County, Leech Lake Behavioral Health, Leech Lake Tribal Health, Lower Sioux Indian Community Health and Human Services, Northern Pines Mental Health Center, Northwestern Mental Health Center, Riverview Health Care, Sanford Behavioral Health-Bemidji, Western Mental Health Center, White Earth Mental Health, White Earth Tribal Health and White Earth Indian Health Services.

The Minnesota Department of Health received a federal grant to invest $3.6 million in comprehensive suicide prevention for youth in the following regions:

  • Northwestern region (Kittson, Marshall, Mahnomen, Norman, Pennington, Polk and Red Lake counties).
  • Brainerd region (Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties).
  • Hennepin County.
  • Southwestern region (Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Redwood and Yellow Medicine counties).
  • Great River – Gichiziibi region (Becker, Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard and Itasca counties).
  • Red Lake, Leech Lake, White Earth, Lower Sioux, Upper Sioux, Little Earth and U.S. Indian Health Services.

As always, the health department reminds Minnesotans that if they are concerned about a loved one, they can call the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


Media inquiries:

Scott Smith
MDH Communications