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More Suicides in South Dakota in 2021; People Still Love Life More in New York, California, Minnesota…

South Dakotans got back to killing themselves at a record rate last year. South Dakota Suicide Prevention reports 198 South Dakotans committed suicide in 2021, beating the previous record of 192 in 2017:

The data from SDSP shows that while there have been some fluctuations, the suicide rate in South Dakota has been on the rise since 2011. In 2011, 125 suicides were recorded. The next year, there were 135. In 2015, there were 173, and in 2017, the state hit its previous high of 192 deaths by suicide.

In 2018, 2016 and 2014, drops in numbers from the year before were recorded, though the rate as a whole continued to climb. In both 2019 and 2020, suicide deaths numbered 185, before rising by 13 to 198 in 2021 [Jacob Newton, “Suicides Hit Record Highs in S.D. in 2021, Data Shows,” KELO-TV, 2022.05.04].

Governor Kristi Noem probably doesn’t understand or know what to do about that grim indicator of mental health issues than she does about depression among certain South Dakotans. But what was true three years ago, before Noem became Governor and let coronavirus kill a couple thousand extra South Dakotans, remains true today: for all of our professions of freedom and fresh air, South Dakotans still seem not to be handling the stresses of living in the 21st century as well as their New York City counterparts:

In 2020, 542 people died of suicide in New York City, according to provisional mortality data in a new Health Department report (PDF). Based on this data, which is subject to change, the number of suicide deaths in New York City remained stable in 2020 compared to prior years. Over the last decade, the overall rate of suicide has remained flat in NYC, and is about half of the national rate, a second new report (PDF) looking at suicide death trends from 2010 to 2019 found [NYC Health, press release, 2021.09.30].

According to the CDC WISQARS tool, South Dakota’s rate of suicide in 2020 was 20.8 per 100,000 population. The suicide rate was higher in seven largely rural, mostly western states—Alaska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and suicide champ Wyoming—but South Dakota’s suicide rate was nearly 2.5 times the rate in New York State (8.5/100K), nearly double the rates in California and Illinois (10.5), and notably worse that Minnesota’s (13.4).

CDC-WISQARS, crude rates of suicide per 100K pop by state, 2020, retrieved 2022.05.05.
CDC-WISQARS, crude rates of suicide per 100K pop by state, 2020, retrieved 2022.05.05.

The more members of a community support each other, the less likely community members are to end their lives prematurely. South Dakota’s position among the top ten states for high suicide rates suggests people find more community support in places like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Minneapolis than they do in Sioux Falls, Pierre, and Pine Ridge.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-05-05

    So, what’s not to like about six (seven? eight?) month winters, rampant racism, chilling effects on civil rights, an extremist legislature, living in a chemical toilet, sacrifice zone, perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area?

    Matt Walz works for Keystone Treatment Center, the only inpatient gambling addiction treatment center in South Dakota and has been told the best place addicts can buy meth is at the bars with video lootery terminals. “’As for suicide,’ Walz continued, ‘compulsive gamblers have the highest rate of suicide than any other addiction.’” In 2020 the Rapid City Police Department took their complaints to the public because it was overwhelmed with crimes of opportunity driven by meth and gambling. Even the extreme white wing of the South Dakota Republican Party has called video lootery a “scourge.”

    Now, according to WalletHub, gambling has become a leading source of anguish and despair in my home state with few avenues for treatment. The state is tied for first in the number of casinos and machines and second in overall addiction to the poison.

  2. bearcreekbat 2022-05-05

    One must wonder whether under South Dakota’s trigger statute, SDCL 22-17-5.1, a pregnant woman’s “suicidal ideation” qualifies as

    appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female,. . . .

  3. Mark Anderson 2022-05-05

    The NRA cheers this, after all it’s all about freedom.

  4. Page James 2022-05-05

    There is just a lot more guns in SD and the high suicide states than in the big blue states. Ease of access to weapons of singular destruction.

  5. Ryan 2022-05-05

    Bcb – what a genius legal theory. Seriously.

  6. ABC 2022-05-05

    R party endangers many lives. They take away the safety net. Junkie fake leaders take 120 million dollars from gamblers every year, how many bgg gamblers have suicidal thoughts?

    Take away the lotto. Republicans are junkies they take the money from people who shouldn’t be gambling.

    Democracy is not about casinos.

  7. leslie 2022-05-06

    New parent (25-26 months) marijuana usage produces bizarre behavior, outwardly, one may observe of those who:

    “used cannabis heavily in their teens and continued through adulthood showed a significant drop in IQ between the ages of 13 and 38—an average of 8 points for those who met criteria for cannabis dependence. (For context, a loss of 8 IQ points could drop a person of average intelligence into the lowest third of the intelligence range.) Those who started using marijuana regularly or heavily after age 18 showed minor declines. By comparison, those who never used marijuana showed no declines in IQ.”

    Suicide inquiries like this in DFP, combined w/Rez inquiries from marijuana etc. users and long sober mental health professionals stimulated my additional observation of a 2021 research report:

    “An analysis of survey data from more than 280,000 young adults ages 18-35 showed that cannabis (marijuana) use was associated with increased risks of thoughts of suicide (suicidal ideation), suicide plan, and suicide attempt. These associations remained regardless of whether someone was also experiencing depression, and the risks were greater for women than for men.”

  8. leslie 2022-05-06

    Yep, Page. Impulsivity and handy gun.

    I have another comment in this thread, in “moderation”

  9. bearcreekbat 2022-05-06

    Ryan, unfortunately it is not so much of a legal theory than a reality:

    Pregnancy and the period after delivering a baby can be one of the riskiest times for depressive symptoms, with suicide among the leading causes of death among new moms.

    And now a new study suggests that suicide “near misses” during pregnancy and after childbirth are increasing.

    The prevalence of suicidal thoughts and self-harm in the year before and after giving birth nearly doubled among childbearing people between 2006 and 2017, according to the findings in JAMA Psychiatry.

    The greatest increases were seen among Black, low-income, and younger individuals, along with people with comorbid anxiety and depression or serious mental illness.

    “Suicide deaths are a leading cause of maternal mortality in the U.S. It’s a public health crisis that has silently grown worse,” says lead author Lindsay Admon, M.D., M.Sc., an obstetrician-gynecologist at Michigan Medicine Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital and researcher with the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

  10. mike from iowa 2022-05-06

    magats confiscating a women’s uterus and body for approx. 9 months will likely be a leading cause of suicides and magats should be held liable for those deaths.

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