As Rural Suicide Rates Increase in America, Studies Show Risk Is Not Randomly Distributed
October 18, 2019
A recent study found that suicide rates have increased the fastest in rural parts of the U.S. Using national data from 1999 to 2016, researchers found that suicide rates went up across the country but most quickly in rural counties. They found that counties with higher suicide rates had greater social fragmentation (e.g., more people who are unmarried and living alone) and less social capital (e.g., fewer opportunities for community engagement). Counties with more gun shops and a higher percentage of veteran and uninsured residents also had higher suicide rates. Experts recommend implementing prevention efforts at both the individual and community levels, for example supporting those at risk while also taking steps to alleviate poverty, foster social connectedness, and reduce access to guns.
Spark Extra! Learn more about preventing suicide in rural areas.