Editorial: Suicide worse among South Dakota tribes

"According to a recent Mental Health America study, South Dakota had the lowest rate of depression among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Unfortunately, our suicide rates don’t offer much evidence for the idea that South Dakotans are a happier-than-average lot.

South Dakota’s suicide rate of nearly 15 per 100,000 was well above the national average of 11 per 100,000.

Pockets of our population, including young adult males and Native American youths, have alarmingly high suicide rates. Native people under the age of 25 in South Dakota commit suicide at rates six times higher than all other racial groups of that age combined. Not double. Not even triple. But six times higher.

The suicide epidemic is worse among South Dakota’s Indian tribes than it is in other Native communities nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control reports that young Native people in this state kill themselves at a rate more than triple that of their Native American-Alaska Native counterparts elsewhere.

Those statistics suggest that South Dakota’s overall depression rate is underreported. At least among our young Native people, depression goes woefully underreported and undertreated until it is, tragically, too late to do anything about it."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Depression study belies suicide rates (The Rapid City Journal 12/7)

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