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Two Studies Examine Rates And Causes Of Suicide

Mar 19, 2015

A new Ohio State University study shows adolescents and young adults living in rural areas are more likely to commit suicide than those in urban areas.

The study analyzed suicides among people ages 10 to 24 between 1996 and 2010. Results show the suicide rate was almost twice as high in rural settings than in urban areas, and the gap appears be widening.  Cynthia Fontanella is a assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral health. She cites less access to health care, geographic isolation and stigma associated with mental illness as potential reasons for the disparities. She says  the findings suggest there is an urgent need to improve access to mental health care in rural areas. Meanwhile, another study shows unemployment during the Great Recession, foreclosures and other financial difficulties led to an increase in the number of middle-aged and older adults who took their own lives in the last few years. The study by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention shows suicide rates for people ages 40 to 64 have risen by 40 percent since 1999, with a significant rise from 2007 through 2010. Spokesperson Jill Harkavy-Friedman.

The number of suicides in the U.S. is now more than 40-thousand per year, including more than 13-hundred in Ohio. The study shows men are four times as likely as women to take their own lives because women are more likely to report mental health problems and seek treatment, while men are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs.

And she says there are warning signs of mental health problems that can lead to suicide.

Harkavy-Friedman says the vast majority of people who commit suicide have substance-abuse problems or underlying mental-health issues, such as untreated depression.