St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) -  The number of suicide deaths in Minnesota continued to climb last year.

The State Department of Health puts the total at 726, which is up six-percent from 2014. Minnesota's suicide rate was the highest ever recorded at 13.1 per 100,000 people. The previous record was set in 1986 at 13 per 100,000 Minnesotans.

A report released by the health department Wednesday indicates suicides among men drove the increase last year, with the suicide rate for men jumping to 20.5 per 100,000. The suicide rate for women was steady at 5.9 per 100,000 people.

"Today's news clarifies that we must do more to support and connect with those who are suffering and contemplating suicide," said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. "We know suicides are preventable. We have seen progress in preventing youth suicide. We must focus on helping adult men and others find hope and help."

The data shows suicides among people under the age of 25 declined slightly last year and officials note that population group has been the focus of most suicide prevention efforts in recent years. Minnesota lawmakers approved $47 million in new spending for mental health services last year, which the health department describes as the largest boost in funding in state history.

Statistics show the state and the national suicide rates have been trending upward since Minnesota recorded an all-time low of 8.9 per 100,000 in the year 2000. The data also shows firearms continue to be the most common method of suicide.

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