Montana Suicide Statistics


We recently moved to the northern states, raising the question in my mind – how mental health is addressed in the state of Montana. The Department of Public Health and Services reported that in 2018 there were 6,211 teens between the ages 15-24 years that had completed suicide, with an alarming rate of increase in the early years of 2000.

Some common risk factors include the following:

  • Social isolation
  • Social disorganization
  • Socioeconomic situations
  • Rural residency
  • Mental Illness equates for 90% of all completed suicides

However, despairing this may seem, major depression is the largest culprit to this alarming statistic. Needless to say, depression is one of the most treatable diseases, with a success rate of 86% when an individual is monitored on a medicated and therapeutic regime. The statistics are lower when addressed without the support.

The most upsetting piece of information that I have recently studied is that there is a rebound effect. The rebound effect is when someone is contemplating suicide, but they don’t have the energy to carry it out due to their depressive state. Subsequently, as their mood shifts and begins to lift, regaining their energy, and although they are still feeling signs of hopelessness, they are feeling a sense of elation. This is a dangerous zone because the risk factors have now escalated. The highest risk factors are ninety days after a depressive state, when their moods start to elevate, this is when they start to have thoughts and feelings of suicide. This can be so confusing to those trying to help. We think that when they are at their most depressed state, that this is when we need to keep a close eye on them; however, this is not the case. We need to stay in contact when their moods are at their most escalated levels too.

As humans, we are programed to react when someone is feeling sad, not when they are happy (or so to appear to be). However, this is just the opposite with someone who is contemplating suicide. As earlier noted, they have been living with in this cycle and know that when they fall into their depressive state, they will not be able to act, so the time to act is when they are in their upward movement and unfortunately, this is when we, as family and friends, are caught the most off guard.

However, there is hope for so many of us struggling with the ideations of suicide; we think we are alone, but we are not. There are support groups, telephone hotlines, specialized events, family and friends to connect with to talk. As parents and mentors, it is up to us to start the conversation – long gone are the days when we didn’t talk about suicide. It is so important as a society and in our community to bring up the conversation and if you or someone you know is talking or thinking about suicide, let them know that they are not alone, you are there to listen to them and there is always help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, contact:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text GO to 741741 to reach a trained Crisis Counselor through Crisis Text Line

dphhs.mt.govMontana (references)

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