Suicide hits rural America harder - Axios

Suicide rates have steadily increased in recent years across the United States, but the trend has hit the hardest rural areas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between the lines: There is no explanation for the trend. Having less access to mental and behavioral health experts, not seeing most of the economic recovery, or even a tendency not to be so quick to seek help, could contribute to higher suicide rates in rural America, Dr. Jane Pearson, president of the NIMH Consortium for Suicide Research, told Axios.

The big picture: Suicide rates in the United States have increased during the recession and, although since then there has been a significant economic recovery, they have continued to rise.

  • This is not true all over the world: the global suicide rate has decreased by 29% since 2000. But even in foreign countries, there is often a disparity between suicide rates in rural and urban areas.
  • In China, for example, the nation has become urbanized, and women – who are much more at risk of committing suicide in China – have started moving to cities instead of taking care of their families in more rural areas. With this, suicide rates especially among Chinese women have been dramatically falling, Pearson said.

A key reason for the global decline in suicide rates has been the reduction of access to lethal products that can be used as weapons. In Sri Lanka, for example, since some deadly pesticides used on crops have been banned, suicide rates are falling, according to the Economist.

  • In the United States., guns are the most common means of committing suicide: 22,938 people committed suicide with firearms in 2016, according to CDC data.
  • Because of this, some suicide prevention groups and public health professionals contacted gun owners, showed up at gun shows, organized events in shooting ranges, to talk on suicide prevention and how to identify weapons owners who may be at risk, Pearson said.

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