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Thread: Suicide Rates Up in Rural America

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    Suicide Rates Up in Rural America

    Suicide rates in the US among residents aged 25 to 64 increased from 1999 to 2016, with the greatest increases in rural counties, particularly in western states, Appalachia and the Ozarks. Increased suicide rates were associated with deprivation (local economies dependent on agriculture and extractive industries), density of gun shops, inadequate health insurance.

    77% of the decedents were male. The suicide rate was higher among veterans.

    Source: "Contextual Factors Associated with County-level Suicide Rates in the United States, 1999 to 2016", JAMA

    http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama...rticle/2749451

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    "Increased suicide rates were associated with deprivation (local economies dependent on agriculture and extractive industries), density of gun shops, inadequate health insurance."

    Not surprising. We Boomers will see much higher suicide rates in our lifetime among our cohort. It is the backup plan for so many people I have talked to.

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    If you include addiction as a means of slow suicide the density of drug dealers is probably more significant than the density of gun shops. But this is JAMA and given doctors' complicity in the opioid epidemic they probably don't want to go there. I heard another report recently that availability of gun shops did NOT increase suicide rates in rural areas where most people already own firearms but did in other areas.

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    My body, my choice.

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    One has a right to commit suicide, unequivocally, but it doesn't mean it's ok if social conditions are DRIVING people to suicide. It was only one's choice in circumstances that were made impossible to live in in that case, and it doesn't have to be this way.

    Not surprising. We Boomers will see much higher suicide rates in our lifetime among our cohort. It is the backup plan for so many people I have talked to.
    I think about it as my backup plan re climate change, fatal illness also makes sense. Until then I'm staying around, although the thoughts have surfaced with unemployment that lasted too long.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yppej View Post
    If you include addiction as a means of slow suicide the density of drug dealers is probably more significant than the density of gun shops.
    Wondering about their proof that proximity to gun shops has a correlation to suicides by hanging, pills, slashing wrists, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    One has a right to commit suicide,
    I believe that is still being argued. I seem to remember we had a post where one state, still considered it a crime, where multiple states, consider attempting (not succeeding) a crime. That doesn't cover of course, assisted. If you ever have someone ask you to kill them, or watch as someone close, becomes trapped in their body (can't speak, can't see, deaf, and brain being destroyed), there isn't really a right answer, in my mind.

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    I do think the difficulties small farmers are having is driving some of the suicide rate in rural America. My DH was talking about all the dairy farms having difficulty these days--people are not buying milk products.


    I looked up suicide rates by state to see if it's true that my old state, New Jersey, has the lowest suicide rate in the country, and, yes, it does by a fairly significant margin. I wonder why? I've heard it hypothesized that it's because it has a large Catholic population, and suicide is considered a mortal sin; however, the state is quite diverse and getting more so, so not sure that argument holds, but it's logical.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicid..._United_States

    I think suicide is tragic in most cases, and it's sad to see the rise in it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    I do think the difficulties small farmers are having is driving some of the suicide rate in rural America. My DH was talking about all the dairy farms having difficulty these days--people are not buying milk products.


    I looked up suicide rates by state to see if it's true that my old state, New Jersey, has the lowest suicide rate in the country, and, yes, it does by a fairly significant margin. I wonder why? I've heard it hypothesized that it's because it has a large Catholic population, and suicide is considered a mortal sin; however, the state is quite diverse and getting more so, so not sure that argument holds, but it's logical.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicid..._United_States

    I think suicide is tragic in most cases, and it's sad to see the rise in it.
    I took a look at the by state chart and found my state of Kentucky coming in at #20. Montana is ranked as the # 1 state for suicide - is there a reason for this I am overlooking? I think of Montana as being one of those big sky, uncrowded, fresh air kind of places, so just wondering what would be the reason for so many suicides. I assume that states with physician assisted death is not counted in these statistics, but I did find this comment: "Montana does not currently have a statute safeguarding physician-assisted death. In 2009, Montana’s Supreme Court ruled nothing in the state law prohibited a physician from honoring a terminally ill, mentally competent patient’s request by prescribing medication to hasten the patient’s death."
    "Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in the midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free." Leonard Cohen

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I have a handful of friends who live in rural America and have done my stint living in a couple of towns less than 1,000 people. Some people have a natural fit for those sorts of places and find a community of like minded people, or enjoy the solitude. For others, especially those who don't quite fit in, there can be a sense of isolation, boredom, and lack of cultural and mental stimulation. Not that those things don't exist in cities, but there is more diversity in many ways and maybe a greater tolerance for different behaviors. Possibly that leads to drug use, but I have my doubts about the density of gun shops having anything to do with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar View Post
    . Some people have a natural fit for those sorts of places and find a community of like minded people, or enjoy the solitude. For others, especially those who don't quite fit in, there can be a sense of isolation, boredom, and lack of cultural and mental stimulation.
    As I recall, the JAMA article associated engagement in community with lesser increases in the suicide rates.

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