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Kansas among states with highest suicide rates, Missouri close behind

A new report examining suicide rates highlights the problem in Kansas and Missouri. Kansas ranks high along with a dozen states with the greatest percentage increase in suicides. Missouri is not far behind.

The Centers for Disease Control report looked at rates since 1999. Overall, the report says the suicide rate nationally increased nearly 30 percent from 1999 to 2016.

suicideAuthors of the report cite mental health conditions as one of the contributing factors.

In Kansas, suicide rates increased by 45 percent, the fifth highest rate in the study. It’s one of 12 states – Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Minnesota, South Carolina, Vermont and New Hampshire – with such an increase between 38 and 58 percent.

Missouri suicide rate increased by 36.4 percent, the 17th-highest in the nation.

Increases were seen across age, gender, race and ethnicity. In more than half of all deaths in 27 states, the individuals had no known mental health condition when they took their own life.

increases seen across age, gender, race and ethnicity, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In more than half of all deaths in 27 states, the individuals had no known mental health condition when they took their own life.

“The data are disturbing,” said Anne Schuchat, CDC principal deputy director. “The widespread nature of the increase, in every state but one, really suggests that this is a national problem hitting most communities.”

It is hitting many places especially hard. In half of the states, suicide among people 10 years and older increased more than 30 percent.

“Research for many years and across social and health science fields has demonstrated a strong relationship between economic downturns and an increase in deaths due to suicide,” says Sarah Burgard an associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan.

A 2017 study in the journal Social Science and Medicine showed evidence that a rise in the foreclosure rate during the Obama recession was associated with an overall, though marginal, increase in suicide rates. The increase was higher for white males than any other race or gender group, however.

CDC officials say suicide can be reduced by communities working together. They listed the following steps that may be taken:

  • Identify and support people at risk of suicide.
  • Teach coping and problem-solving skills to help people manage challenges with their relationships, jobs, health, or other concerns.
  • Promote safe and supportive environments. This includes safely storing medications and rearms to reduce access among people at risk.
  • Offer activities that bring people together so they feel connected and not alone.
  • Connect people at risk to effective and coordinated mental and physical healthcare.
  • Expand options for temporary help for those struggling to make ends meet.
  • Prevent future risk of suicide among those who have lost a friend or loved one to suicide.

 

 

  • –By Dwight Widaman

 

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