In 2018, 144 North Dakotans completed suicide. The number who attempted is higher, but finding that exact number is difficult according to the ND Department of Health.
In order to improve prevention efforts, the department says it needs better information. Lawmakers provided that help Wednesday during the Administrative Rules Committee.
With lawmakers allowing the department to start the data collection process, the department says it will get more insight into cases than they get now from vital records and other in-house systems.
The department says starting October 1st, it will collect data to show more of the circumstances surrounding an attempted or completed suicide. With more information, the department says it will get a better understanding of each incident, leading to more targeted -- and hopefully effective -- prevention efforts. Kodi Pinks, an epidemiologist with NDDoH, says adding more information to what they get from vital records paints a clearer picture of the person.
“That is law enforcement reports, that's coroner or medical examiner reports. Through combing all three of these data sources, we're telling a bigger picture of this person's life. From that, we can see, potentially, was there a missed opportunity or was there anything we could focus tailored prevention efforts to prevent the next death,” said Pinks.
Here are all the events approved for data collection by Wednesday’s committee:
• Acute Flaccid Myelitis
• Candida auris
• Cluster of severe or unexplained illnesses or deaths
• Clostridium perfringens intoxication
• Critical Congenital Heart Disease
• Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
• Neonatal abstinence syndrome- This is when a child is born addicted to drugs and begins to go through withdrawal syndrome
• Suicide and suicide attempts
• Tuberculosis disease
• Violent deaths