Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Rural youth twice as likely to commit suicide as urban counterparts, study says

The suicide rate for rural residents ages 10 to 24 is nearly double the rate in urban areas, according to a study by Columbus, Ohio, researchers published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, Maanvi Singh reports for NPR. The study found that rural males in this age group commit suicide at a rate of 19.93 per every 100,000 residents, compared to 10.31 urban suicides per every 100,000. Among females, 4.40 per every 100,000 rural girls commit suicide, compared to 2.39 per every 100,000 urban girls.

Researchers from Ohio State University, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services used data from 1996 to 2010, finding that more than half of all suicides used a firearm, Singh writes. Rural residents were three times more likely than urban ones to commit suicide with a gun, with 51 percent of rural youth suicides coming by way of a gun.

The disparity in suicide rates can be attributed to a lack of psychiatric care in rural areas and a rural fear of admitting mental health issues and of being found out by friends and neighbors, researchers said, Singh writes. Speaking of rural areas, researcher Cynthia Fontanella told Singh, "There's often this emphasis on self-reliance and this rugged individualism. People hesitate to seek help with emotional issues. And even if someone wants to go to a mental health professional, in small towns there's a lack of anonymity in seeking care." (Read more)

No comments: