Suicide rates higher in rural communities

Local News

Suicide rates are higher in rural communities, according to new research.

Suicide rates are on the rise, especially in rural America. Medical research published Friday shows suicide rates among people living in rural counties were 25 percent higher than those in major metropolitan areas.

“People that live in rural communities sometimes are more isolated, especially if they don’t live in a rural community that their families live in,” said Laura Baalrud, Director of Community Health Living in a rural community has its perks.

Fresh air and big, open space but researchers say it could have a big impact on mental health.

Research published in JAMA Network Open, a medical journal shows from 1999 to 2016, the rate of suicide among Americans ages 25 to 64 rose by 41 percent. People living in rural communities were most impacted. Baalrud says there are many reasons for this trend.

“Is mental health care accessible? Do they have insurance? Do they have practitioners that are in an area they can get to easily?” said Baalrud.

When it comes to mental health in rural communities, Baalrud says many farmers are impacted by limited resources in their area.

“Historically farmers and ranchers have been a group a population that are very self-sufficient and they’re very self-sufficient also in their health. They think a lot of times that they can handle this,” said Baalrud.

The weather, low prices and a trade war has made for a challenging past couple of years for farmers. Baalrud says this can cause extreme stress and feelings of hopelessness, especially for those working o generational farms.

Baalrud says the solution is support. Coming together as a community to provide support to those who need it is the key in rural areas she says.

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the National Lifeline Network is available 24/7 across the United States. Call 1-800-273-8255

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