MONTANA’S 2011 SUICIDE RATE TWICE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE
From 2010-2011, at least 452 Montanans killed themselves. That’s about 22 people per 100,000 residents, nearly twice the national average. In 2010, 227 people killed themselves; in 2011 it was 225.
According to the Billings Gazette Montana’s suicide rate leads the nation.
In Montana, every one of the 452 Montanans who killed themselves last year had a face, be they a troubled father, a confused teenager, or a lonely, elderly widow.
The majority who took their lives — 77 percent, or 350 — were males. The victims came from all age groups, although most of them — 91 people — were 55 to 64. Another 88 were 45 to 54, and 75 of the victims were between the ages of 24 and 34.
Another 5,600 Montanans — an average of about 15 per day — attempted to kill themselves last year.
Montana counties with the highest suicide rates also have high unemployment and high rates of poverty. Twenty percent of Montana’s youth live 100 percent to 200 percent below the poverty line.
The shortage of mental health professionals and mental health treatment facilities in the state is also well-known and widely reported.
As of Nov. 1, there were 146 licensed psychiatrists in Montana. Patients can wait anywhere from two weeks to three months or longer to see a psychiatrist. In some areas of the state, there is one psychiatrist serving a vast, multicounty area.
“We’ve got a lot of hurting people,” said Jim Hajny, executive director of the Montana Peer Network, a nonprofit organization of individuals who are in recovery from mental illness, substance abuse or both.
“We have to get at this.”
I agree with Jim Hajny, we do have to get at this. We have a state of citizens that are full of despair. How is Montana the last great state if the suicide rate and the incarceration rate are so high? Something is drastically wrong. We have to begin to address the problem of Montanans feeling hopeless that their government does not listen to them. Families upon families are crying out. If you research this website alone you will see countless of hopeless situations, but this unfortunately is not the only website, there are many.
I sincerely hope that the state of Montana and it’s legislators will look at these problems seriously. I hope that the new Governor elect Steve Bullock and the new Attorney General elect Tim Fox will work together on these problems. We need to have citizens able to find jobs, not living in standards below poverty level thinking their only way out is by suicide….or being housed by a prison. We cannot have a select few in the state that live well and look the other way when it comes to their fellow Montanans hurting. Suicide and high incarceration rates are everyone’s issue. What can you do to help solve this problem?
This problem that is in a
There are many great articles that the Montana media has published on this issue. I suggest reading them.
- Billings Gazette – High Country Crisis
- Billings Gazette – High Demand
- Billings Gazette – Before A Suicide, A Mother’s Lament: ‘Why Can’t I Fix This?’
- Billings Gazette – Let’s Bust Mental Health Myths
The following are signs that may indicate a person is at risk of a suicide attempt:
– Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
– Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun.
– Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
– Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
– Talking about being a burden to others.
– Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
– Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
– Sleeping too little or too much.
– Withdrawing or isolation.
– Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
– Displaying extreme mood swings.
Source: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
For help or to report a suicide, contact the Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For the deaf or hearing impaired, TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889). The services are free and confidential.