Report reveals who is dying by suicide in Michigan, ways to curb it

Michigan
generic-state-of-michigan-seal_1379359508400_2974333_ver1-0_640_480_1521074707888.jpg

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, help is available at all times by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK. Those under the age of 21 can talk to a peer by calling Teen Link at 1.866.833.6546.


LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Every six hours, someone in Michigan dies by suicide. A group appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is sharing its recommendations to curb that count.

The Michigan Suicide Prevention Commission released its initial 93-page report Monday, which identified groups at higher risk of suicide, including those with chronic health issues, mental illness, socioeconomic challenges and members of marginalized groups, including youth who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning.

Last year, 1,282 people in Michigan died by suicide, according to provisional data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. While that initial number is lower than the 1,471 suicides the year prior, state health officials expect 2020’s suicide count to rise as more reports are finalized.

MDHHS says suicide is the 10th most common cause of death in the state, rising about 28% between 2009 and 2019. In 2017, the number of people who died by suicide in Michigan was more than quadruple the number of deaths by alcohol-related vehicle crashes, according to the agency.

national suicide prevention hotline graphic_1556595220279.jpg.jpg

According to state date from 2018, the highest suicide rate was among Michigan workers ages 30-59. Males accounted for nearly 80% of suicide deaths, but females were more likely to be suicide attempt survivors. The highest suicide rate per capita was among residents age 85 or older, the report concluded.

While white Michiganders were more likely to die by suicide in 2018, the rate among Black residents rose nearly 65% from 2017 to 2018, the report concluded.

The report determined suicide rates were generally higher per capita in rural areas.

While the report’s findings were primarily based on 2018 statistics, the commission noted the COVID-19 pandemic could worsen mental health issues, adding more research is needed to understand the long-term effects on people’s well-being.

The report noted the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services steps to provide additional support for those with mental health and substance use challenges during the pandemic, which are listed at michigan.gov/StayWell.

The commission shared 36 recommendations, including:

  • Expand funding for state suicide prevention efforts;
  • Build and staff a repository of data about Michigan suicides;
  • Create a “postvention workgroup” to create guidelines for responding effectively after the death of someone by suicide;
  • Boost suicide prevention awareness through businesses and organizations like firearm advocacy groups who interact with higher risk people or the methods most used for suicide;
  • Look for racial or ethnic biases in how medical examiners determined the cause of death and educate medical examiners on the potential risk.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, help is available at all times by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK. Those under the age of 21 can talk to a peer by calling Teen Link at 1.866.833.6546.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

More COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Top Stories On WOODTV.com

Know something newsworthy? Report It!