While crime rates in the U.S. may be falling, the suicide rates are on the rise. Since 2000, the rates of suicide increased. One important takeaway from the CDC report is the fact that not all group rates from suicide increased, those in rural communities are growing at a faster rate. Whites and Native Americans suicide rates are rising the fastest. The CDC looked at data between 2000 and 2015 in counties across the U.S.
Risk factors for suicide include mental disorders, personality disorders, alcoholism, stress from financial or relationship difficulties, or substance abuse. People who have attempted suicide previously are at a higher risk for future attempts. Around the world, almost one million deaths are from suicide this is up from 700,000 in 1990, making it the 10th leading cause of death around the world.
From the data, the CDC noticed a spike around 2008, making researchers speculate if this peak occurred from the financial crisis. The financial crisis hit rural communities more than others. Other risk factors for suicide in rural communities include poverty, social isolation, less access to mental health facilities and resources, and the explosion of opioids, according to Vocativ.
In the CDC’s report, in the latter half of the data (from the years 2008-2015) men, white men, and Native Americans were more likely to commit suicide. Children were also likely to commit suicide as well. This rate also rose among blacks, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Latinos, but at a lower rate, according to Vocativ. CBS News reported that the highest rate of suicides was among those 35 to 64 years old and people aged 75 years and older.
To fight the rising suicide rates in the country, the CDC recommended better policies, increase “mental health infrastructure,” and better training for healthcare professionals to identify suicide risks reported Vocativ. Those in white rural areas and Native Americans face different “unique factors” including isolation and lack of health care facilities. Vocativ went on to report that two of the dangers facing everyone are “economic hardship and the proliferation of drugs like opioids.”
Scott Kegler, the study co-author, said to CBS News that “suicide is preventable.” He went on to say that “strengthening economic support during financial downturns, along with teaching coping and problem-solving skills” could stop the increasing suicide rate. To fight social isolation, the authors of the study recommended promoting “social connectedness” and to “reduce shortages of healthcare providers in rural areas.”
The CDC recommended that states with high rural areas and high suicide rates have resources, such as Preventing Suicide: a Technical Package of Policies, Programs, and Practices to help bring mental health facilities into areas with low access. The study was published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
By Cheryl Werber