A new study has found that suicide is on the rise – especially in rural areas.
Researchers from West Virginia and The Ohio State Universities looked a national suicide data over a 17-year period. They found that during that time, suicide rates jumped 41 percent with the highest rates in rural, low-income counties. West Virginia, for instance, has the 8th highest suicide rate in the nation.
They found that in rural areas, risk factors for suicide included underemployment, poverty and low educational attainment while in urban areas, counties with more gun shops tended to have higher suicide rates.
Additional risk factors included how socially connected or isolated someone was, whether a county had a large percentage of veterans or being uninsured.
The researchers say people who live in rural America might particularly benefit from strategies to promote social connections.
The study was published today in the online journal of the American Medical Association.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.