Minnesota Department of Health introduces new tool to track violent death

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) introduced the Minnesota Violent Death Reporting System (MNVDRS) dashboard on Wednesday, a comprehensive tool used to observe trends in violent death county by county.

The dashboard uses information about violent deaths including suicide, homicide, unintentional firearms, law enforcement intervention or other violent deaths between 2015 and 2020.

The MDH hopes to use the tool to understand which populations experience “the tragedy of violent deaths” and the circumstances that surround the deaths, according to a written statement from Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham.

According to the dashboard, Minnesotans at the highest risk for suicide include Indigenous males in their teens and 20s and white males aged 35-64, especially those in rural areas with access to guns and a lack of access to mental health care. The suicide rates for the Indigenous population in Minnesota are more than 70% higher than that of the white population.

The dashboard combines data from death certificates, medical examiners, coroner reports and law enforcement reports to collect over 600 unique elements, which include relationships, locations, methods and demographics.

The MNVDRA is a part of the National Violent Death Reporting System, which is overseen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you or someone you know needs crisis supports or is thinking of suicide, call 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline for support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.