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Rural Youth Suicide Incidents Close to Double Urban Rate


Suicide is the third leading cause of death for adolescents aged 10 to 24 and results in approximately 4,600 lives lost every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of suicides for youth living in rural areas is almost double the rate for youth living in urban areas. That’s what a new study by researchers at the Wexner Medical Center in Ohio found. The study, titled “Widening Rural-Urban Disparities in Youth Suicides,” was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association of Pediatrics on March 9.

“What we found was that suicide rates, even though gun use has decreased and hanging has become the more common method of suicide rates for males and females, we found that suicide rates by firearm and hanging are disproportionately higher in rural areas than in urban areas for both sexes,” said Fontanella.

In the study, Fontanella said she and her colleagues speculated why there may be higher suicide rate in rural areas, including barriers, or limited access, to mental health care, social and geographical isolation, socio-economic factors, and a disproportionate stigma associated with mental illness in rural areas. Firearm ownership may be another consideration.

“Prior research has shown that rural areas tend to have higher rates of suicide, but the fact that these disparities are widening over time is a novel finding,” she said.
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