Mental Health

Poor Mental Health is Deadlier than Homicide in the US, and the Problem is Growing

Posted on 19 February 2020

Mental health is one of the strongest predictors for longevity, with research suggesting serious mental illness reduces life expectancy by 25 years. The United States saw 48000 deaths from suicide in 2018, a number that has been steadily increasing for over a decade despite efforts to counter the trend. This has affected rural communities in particular.

A recent study has suggested a number of factors behind this effect, including poverty and isolation.

Individuals living in rural counties may be especially susceptible to the effects of deprivation, such as lower levels of education, employment, and household income. […] Greater social isolation, challenges related to transportation and interpersonal communication, and associated difficulties accessing health and mental health services likely contribute to the disproportionate association of deprivation with suicide in rural counties.

Suicide rates were also associated with a higher population of veterans and greater availability of firearms.


References

Mental Health Community Case Management and Its Effect on Healthcare Expenditures: https://doi.org/10.3928/00485713-20100804-08

Contextual Factors Associated With County-Level Suicide Rates in the United States, 1999 to 2016: doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.10936

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