Suicide rates in the United States increased steadily between 1999 and 2015, but the rates for less urban counties climbed faster than those for cities, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The gap in rates between less urban and
Overall rates rose from an average of 12.6 per 100,000 in 1999-2007 to an average of 14.4 per 100,000 in 2008-2015. However, rates jumped from about 15/100,000 in rural areas in 1999 to about 22/100,000 in 2015. In large central metropolitan areas, the rate went from about 11/100,000 to 12/100,000.
Kegler and colleagues suggested that some of the factors associated with the disparity were shortages of clinicians in less urban areas, as well as limited access to mental health care, social isolation, and the effects of the opioid overdose epidemic and the 2007-2009 economic recession (which struck rural areas especially hard).
“There is a growing need for comprehensive suicide prevention employing a broad public health approach,” they concluded. Besides general anti-suicide strategies, additional help for rural areas might include increasing the number of health care providers through incentives, expanding the use of telepsychiatry, and promoting social connectedness.
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