Youth suicide rates nearly double in rural areas



The rates of suicide in adolescents and young adults in rural regions of the United States are nearly double the rates in urban areas, Cynthia A. Fontanella, Ph.D., and her associates at Ohio State University, Columbus, reported in JAMA Pediatrics.

In an analysis of national mortality data from January 1996 to December 2010, Dr. Fontanella and her coauthors found that the rates of suicide in adolescents and young adults aged 10-24 years were 19.93 and 4.40 per 100,000 for males and females, respectively, in rural areas, compared with 10.31 and 2.39 for males and females in urban areas.

They also found that 51.1% of youth suicides were committed using firearms.

“Access to firearms appears to be a strong risk factor for suicide, especially suicide among youth,” said Dr. Frederick P. Rivara in an editorial published with the study. He recommended that physicians take concrete steps to help reduce these deaths, such as inquiring about firearms in patients’ homes – particularly those with depression or other mental disorders – and promoting safe storage of firearms.

Read the full article here (doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.3561).

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