Montana Violent Death Reporting System
Violent death is a major public health problem across the United States. Montana is not immune to this epidemic and unfortunately remains one of the leading states in the nation for suicide. Montana has been at or near the top in the nation for the rate of suicide for nearly four decades. A 2015 special report by 24/7 Wall St. listed Montana as the 5th highest rate in the nation for firearm deaths, at nearly 17 per 100,000 residents. Further, gun-related deaths have been steadily increasing since 2006. In fact, Montana registered the highest firearm death rate in the decade ending in 2013. As in many states with high rates of gun deaths, suicides made up the vast majority of deaths. More than 88% of gun-deaths were due to suicide (Thomas Frohlich, 24/7 Wall St., June 2015)
In 2014, Montana had the highest rate of suicide in the United States (American Association of Suicidology, Dec. 2015). In the past ten years (2005-2014), the crude rate of suicide in Montana is 22.33 per 100,000 people (the national rate during that same period is 12.22 per 100,000). Over those same years (2005-2014), 2,199 Montana residents died by suicide, which is an average of 220 people per year. Firearms are the means in 63% of youth suicides in Montana. Handguns constitute 89% of all the firearm-related suicides in Montana (Montana Suicide Mortality Review Team Report, 2016).
In order to address the burden of these violent deaths, the Montana DPHHS EMS & Trauma Systems is has received funding for the collection of violent death information using the CDC National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). EMSTS will bring together state agency programs and external partners to collect information about Montana violent deaths and to address key prevention activities. We will leverage and enhance existing partnerships, as well as, facilitate strategic communication among and between all partners for increased coordination and effectiveness. Building upon successful initiatives and programs currently in place, MVDRS will develop new partnerships and strategies to implement surveillance and prevention initiatives. The purpose of the Montana VDRS (MT-VDRS) is to create and implement a plan to collect and disseminate accurate, timely, and comprehensive surveillance data on violent deaths across the State using CDC guidelines and web-based data entry system and disseminate data to stakeholders.