Suicide More Prevalent in Rural Areas

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Even though this study deals with people ages 10 to 24, the suicide rates for every age group are much higher in the country compared to cities, according to Helen Anne Sweeney, a study co-author and a data analyst for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

She said that’s true for Northeast Ohio, too. "Ashtabula, which is an Appalachian, rural county, tends to have a higher-than-statewide average. Cuyahoga County, a major metro, tends to have a lower suicide rate," Sweeney said.

The reasons for the disparity aren’t clear, but researchers have some ideas. City dwellers have better mental health care access. Jobs and social services are usually easier to come by.

But it’s not that urban life is always healthier. Among young people, Sweeney said those at greatest risk for suicide are prone to other risky behaviors, too. In cities, that can lead some to die by violence or in accidents, reducing the urban suicide rate.

There’s another complication with the numbers, Sweeney added. In the country, people who kill themselves are more likely to leave a note, making the cause of death clear.

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