Study shows increase in Alaska suicide rates

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – A state study shows Alaska’s suicide rate has jumped in recent years.

Alaska Public Media reports there was a 13 percent increase in suicides between 2012 and 2017 compared to a similar period from 2007 to 2011.

The report from state public health officials says suicide was the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 64.

The rates were highest in northern and southwestern communities.

A separate document accompanying the report outlined toxicology results following suicides since 2015.

Those tests showed 70 percent involved one or more substances, most frequently alcohol.

Deborah Hull-Jilly, a state epidemiologist who worked on the report, is also starting a yearlong project with other researchers to determine why suicides have increased after several years of declines.