Suicide rates continue to rise in Arkansas


Suicide deaths are up in the natural state according to a new study.

Health advocacy group, Commonwealth Fund reports that in 2017, there were 20.8 suicides per 100,000 deaths in Arkansas compared to 14.3 suicides in 2005- a difference of 45%.

Staff at the Arkansas Crisis Center speak to people who are considering taking their lives. They said it’s hard to say why suicide rates are increasing, but it could be a number of reasons.

Program manager, Emily Gilbertson said a lot of the calls that come in are from people dealing with financial loss, the death of a loved one, and traumatic childhood experiences. She also said numbers could be higher because of better reporting.

Before suicide and mental health were a topic of discussion, she said suicides would not always be listed as the cause of death, which skewed the numbers.

However, Gilbertson said regardless of the reason, there are things everyone can do to prevent suicide.

“It’s best to just ask directly, ‘Hey, are you thinking about suicide? Are you thinking about killing yourself?’ Gilbertson said. “Most people think that put the idea in their head and that is actually not true. Most people feel relieved.” 

The Arkansas Crisis Center services the entire state. If you feel you need to talk to someone, call (888) 274-7472

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