CDC: Suicide is more common among Americans in rural areas

Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

(NEW YORK) —  According to data released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans who live in rural areas are consistently more likely to die by suicide than those who live in metropolitan counties.

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and the CDC notes that there were more than 500,000 suicides between 2001 and 2015, the period during which the study was done.

“While we’ve seen many causes of death come down in recent years, suicide rates have increased more than 20 percent from 2001 to 2015,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald. “This is especially concerning in rural areas.”

Rural areas saw 17.32 suicides per 100,000 people during the course of the study, according to the CDC. Small and medium metropolitan counties saw just 14.86 per 100,000 people, while large metropolitan counties had just 11.92 suicides per 100,000 people.

Across geographical areas, suicide rates were four to five times higher for men than women.

Perhaps most concerning, suicide rates increased for all age groups, which the largest rates and the largest increases both appearing in rural counties.

“The trends in suicide rates by sex, race, ethnicity, age, and mechanism that we see in the general population are magnified in rural areas,” James Mercy, director of CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention said. “This report underscores the need for suicide prevention strategies that are tailored specifically for these communities.”

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