Minnesota needs more awareness of suicide issue

Suicide is an ongoing issue for the state and the University.

University of Minnesota student Julia Schliesing used her campaign for Miss Minneapolis to bring awareness to suicide and mental illness. Her partnership with Minnesota-based Suicide Awareness Voices of Education is a welcome reminder of this ongoing issue for the University and the state.

Minnesota’s suicide rate is on the rise, having climbed 38 percent since 2001, according to a 2013 state Department of Health report. The state saw the highest jump — 13 percent — in 2011. A vast majority of these cases involved people with mental illnesses.

The University has seen suicides and attempted suicides on and around campus this academic year, in addition to student off-campus suicide. The Anoka-Hennepin school district had eight student suicides between 2009 and 2011, which gained nationwide attention.

In Boynton Health Service’s 2013 College Student Health Survey Report, nearly 30 percent of University students reported an inability to manage their stress level. These students reported disproportionally higher numbers in depression diagnoses within the past 12 months. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that suicide is the third-leading cause of death among young people between ages 10 and 24. Suicide rates are especially high for teenage males.

The trend is clear: Suicide is a growing issue for the state and an alarming problem for young people and students. People should seek help, such as Boynton Health Service, if they need it. The University community needs more awareness work, such as SAVE and Schielsing’s campaign, to prevent more deaths.