|La Plata County, Colorado (Wikipedia map)|
Colorado ranks fourth nationally for suicide rates among middle-aged white women, Nutt writes. Rural La Plata County, with a population of 53,284, leads the state among counties with more than 30,000 residents. Fourteen middle-aged white women in the county have committed suicide since 2007. A Post analysis "found striking commonalities: Most worked physically demanding jobs. Most suffered from chronic pain. And most struggled with mental-health issues that, surviving friends and relatives say, were addressed through psychiatric medications that were ultimately ineffective."
"The number of prescriptions written by non-psychiatrists also has risen," Nutt writes. "As many as 80 percent of all antidepressant prescriptions are written by physicians who are not psychiatrists, multiple studies have found, and doctors often give the drugs to people who have received no psychiatric diagnosis. Studies also show that the drugs work only about half the time and can produce side effects, such as anxiety and sleeplessness, that mimic worsening symptoms."
"More than half of all counties in the U.S.—all of them rural—have no practicing psychiatrists, psychologists or social workers, according to a 2013 federal report," Nutt writes. "In La Plata County, only one mental-health clinic accepted Medicaid." (Read more)