Suicides in Rural America Increased More than 40% in 16 Years | American Council on Science and Health – By Alex Berezow — March 16, 2017
Rural America is facing an existential crisis. As cities continue to grow and prosper, small towns are shrinking.
The trend is clear: Rural America is literally fading away. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that the opioid overdose epidemic has hit rural states, like Kentucky and West Virginia, especially hard. And the latest research from the CDC also shouldn’t come as a surprise: Suicides in rural America (labeled as non-core) have increased over 40% in 16 years.
From 1999 to 2015, suicide rates increased everywhere in America. On average, across the U.S., suicides increased from 12.2 per 100,000 to 15.7 per 100,000, an increase of just under 30%.
However, in rural America, the suicide rate surged over 40%, from just over 15 per 100,000 to roughly 22 per 100,000. Similarly, the suicide rate in micropolitan areas (defined as having a population between 10,000-49,999) went from 14 per 100,000 to 19 per 100,000, an increase of around 35%.
On the flip side, major cities saw much smaller increases in suicide rates, on the order of 10%.
The graph depicts a clear pattern: Suicide rates are highest in the most rural parts of the country, and they slowly decrease as urbanization increases.
What explains the difference?
The CDC suggests lack of proper mental healthcare, social isolation, the opioid crisis, and lingering effects of the Great Recession, all of which hit rural areas hardest. It appears fixing the suicide epidemic will require addressing very large societal trends and cultural problems.
Suicide rates are rising everywhere in this country and the opioid pain relief restrictions will undoubtedly lead to more.
Emergency Department Visits Related to Suicidal Ideation, 2006-2013 Jan 2017
Suicide is a major public health concern that causes immeasurable pain and suffering to individuals, families, and communities nationwide. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death overall and the second leading cause among Americans aged 10-44 years.
In 2014, the suicide rate reached a 30-year high, accounting for nearly 43,000 deaths.
Suicide is preventable, however. Suicidal thoughts or actions are signs of extreme distress and require intervention.
If this is true, then many chronic pain patients are in “extreme distress” since the government decided to decrease access to effective pain relief in order to stop heroin overdoses. (Clearly not a logically reasoned policy) Continue reading