Suicide In Rural Areas


Suicide in Rural Areas and other information

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, and we are working to raise awareness and educate the community on the risk factors and warning signs of suicide. The Rural Health Information Hub states,"suicide rate is near twice as great in the most rural areas of the U.S.compared to the most urban areas."The difference in suicide rates between rural and urban areas has continued to widen, with an increase of 50% in rural areas versus 31% in urban areas from 1999 to 2019. In some states, the urban areas have seen no increase in suicide rates while the rates in rural areas continue to rise. For certain groups of people in rural areas, that risk is even higher, making it even more important to understand their challenges and find ways to help them—the Rural Health Information Hub shares the groups most at risk and why.

  • Age. Middle age has been identified as a time of high risk for suicide. However, in rural areas,
    younger men in their 20s and 30s experience higher suicide rates than middle-aged men. At greatest
    risk are men aged 85 and above, among which the suicide rate is 60.2 per 100,000 people. Among
    rural women, the rate is highest among those aged 45- 49 (13.7 per 100,000 people) and does not
    show the same significant peak among older adults. The rate of suicide among rural youth aged 15-19
    is 54% higher than that of their urban counterparts (15.8 vs. 9.1 per 100,000 people) and increased
    74% over the past 12 years.
  • American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN). AI/AN communities have a higher rate of suicide than the
    general U.S. public and are more likely to live in rural areas. Higher suicide rates among AI/AN
    people are linked to historical trauma and discrimination, higher rates of alcohol and drug use,
    higher rates of poverty, and other social factors. Additionally, while there is a shortage of
    mental health providers in many rural areas, there are even fewer mental health providers who are
  • Farmers. Farmers face elevated rates of suicide compared with the general public. Contributing
    factors include financial uncertainty, physical demands, poor mental health, and lack of social
    support. These stressors may result in suicidal thoughts or attempts. The stigma surrounding mental
    health may be even stronger in farming communities. Farming culture often enforces social norms
    that make people less likely to reach out for social support from friends or family.
  • Veterans. Each day 22 Veterans die by suicide. Veterans living in rural areas are at higher risk
    for suicide than their urban counterparts because many of the resources available specific to
    veterans are located near metropolitan areas making access to care more difficult to reach.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately. If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. For information, education, and support on this and other mental health topics, please contact our program. Our program is designed to meet the unique needs of individuals typically 65 and older experiencing depression and/or anxiety related to life changes that are often associated with aging. Anyone can make a referral to our program, including self-referrals, provider referrals, or community referrals. Call us today at 530-283-7131

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