“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 3/3/20
According to the latest data from The American Association of Suicidology, Montana has broken free from a top-three ranking of suicide rates in U.S. states for the first time in a decade. “What’s been really cool is in about the past seven or eight years, there’s been a bunch of different organizations and individuals that have brought different things to the table. It’s a real joint effort,” Matt Kuntz, director of the Montana chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, told KRTV. The jump from the No. 1 position in 2017 to the No. 4 position in 2018—it can take some time to accurately assess the figures, hence the delayed reporting—is a testament to those efforts, including increased access to care, Kuntz noted. In 2018, New Mexico took the No. 1 position, with 25.6 suicides per 100,000 people, followed by Wyoming with 25.4, Alaska with 25.0 and finally Montana with 24.9 suicides per 100,000 people. Nationally, the suicide rate was 14.8 per 100,000, the highest since 1938 at the tail end of the Great Depression. Middle and high school students are examples of populations targeted for access to care, information and counseling.