New state health dashboard displays MN violent death data
The Minnesota Department of Health launched a new online dashboard Wednesday to allow for public visualization of state violent death data, including rates of suicide, homicide, unintentional firearm, law enforcement intervention or other undetermined violent death from 2015 to 2020.
The data is intended to help policymakers, media and others observe trends in violent deaths over time, among groups of Minnesotans and by county, to “develop more effective approaches to prevent deaths,” according to an MDH press release.
The dashboard was created with data provided by the Minnesota Violent Death Reporting System from death certificates and death investigation reports from medical examiners, coroners and law enforcement.
State trends discovered by the MDH through data in the dashboard include the following:
• 55% of those dying by suicide had a current mental health problem and 48% had a history of mental health treatment.
• Homicides and homicide rates spiked in 2020 — a trend also observed nationally — while other manners of violent death remained relatively steady.
• Firearms were used in almost half of suicide deaths, two-thirds of homicide deaths and more than half of interpersonal violence homicide deaths. Three-quarters of firearm deaths were suicide. Minnesota has large racial disparities in suicide and homicide rates. Suicide rates in Minnesota are highest among the American Indian population, more than 70% higher than for the white population.
• Homicide rates in the state are highest among the Black or African American population and the American Indian population, more than 10 times the rate of the white population.
• Antidepressants were found in the systems of about 30% of females who died by suicide, compared to 12% in males.
• Spouses were suspected as the perpetrator in about 21% of homicide cases where the victim was female. The victim’s boyfriend or girlfriend was suspected in an additional 16% of cases.
Those who have been a victim of a violent crime can go to the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs for a list of resources available.
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