Suicide prevention takes center stage as CDC report shows growing problem

Sioux Falls, SD (KSFY) The Centers for Disease Control released a new report this week showing suicide rates have grown by more than 30 percent in half of the nation.

Our region is particularly bad, with a 36 percent increase in Iowa, a 40 percent increase in Minnesota, 44.5 percent in South Dakota and 57 percent increase in North Dakota.

The report comes during a difficult week for suicides with the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

“It really brings it back and makes it fresh and renewed feelings of devastation,” Tara Johnanneson said.

As one of the millions of Americans touched by suicide, Tara Johnanneson says these two high profile deaths stir up some painful memories.

“I lost my father Myron 16 years ago to suicide,” she said. “Suicide is one of those things that has a ripple effect throughout your whole life.”

Her father's death has made prevention a priority as she now works to ensure other families never have to face the same pain.

“There's nothing that can't be overcome, every single person is important, every life is important, there is value for everything that you have to give,” Johnanneson said.

“People need to be aware that there is help for mental health issues, suicide issues. You can recover from these things and there is all types of help out there for those things,” Sheri Nelson, the Helpline Center Suicide Prevention Director said.

The National Suicide prevention hotline has seen a 25-percent increase in calls this week after the increased media coverage.

“When people call I see that as a positive thing because they are calling in for help and getting those resources that they need and help with mental health issues,” Nelson said.

“There is a stigma around suicide and around mental health. People need to be aware that they can talk about how they are feeling to family and to friends without feeling like they are a burden,” South Dakota Department of Health State Epidemiologist Joshua Clayton said.

“We all have mental health, we all have good days and bad days,” Johnanneson said. “It’s worth fighting for and you're worth fighting for and we're going to do everything we can to help you.”

This weekend Johnanneson will share her full story at the step forward to prevent suicide event this Sunday at Falls Park. The walk begins at 9:00am followed by a remembrance ceremony for all of those who have been impacted by suicide.