Did you know that in the past ten years, suicide has risen to be the tenth major cause of death in the USA, right behind the flu and pneumonia? Of this, rural counties have steadily increased to a 25% higher suicide rates than urban counties since the early 1990s. There are many thoughts from suicidologists and therapists alike that suggest the reason behind the increased rates are due to the lack of understanding on the subject, even by those that do study it.
Most rural states have also been found to Google suicide hotline. As suicide cleaners, we hope to help make sense of this data and make a difference.
Daniel Steelesmith, a postdoctoral grad at Ohio State University, believes that the areas dealing with high suicide rates are those with rising poverty levels and issues finding work. Per data released by the Suicide Prevention Center, Wyoming has the highest suicide rate in the country. Other rural counties in Pennsylvania, Montana, West Virginia, and Maine are also frequent locations.
Mass transportation is scarce in areas like rural Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Counties are more likely to face political and economical corruption, including the funds to build the infrastructure needed for low populations in these areas.
With poor infrastructure comes more difficulty accessing:
As a result, these locations depend on farming to stay alive, but farms have faced many problems since commercial agriculture and Silicon Valley hit local farmers hard in the 1990s. Farms are a barely sustainable source of income, with 40% of small farms profiting at about $2/day.
Rural counties face economic hardship, it’s a fact. 16% are below the poverty line. Poverty in urban areas are 11% is below the poverty line, which makes it seem like a marginal difference, but rural counties are significantly less populated and therefore poverty is considerably more widespread.
The odds are stacked against those living in poverty, especially when your closest neighbors are going through it. Poverty makes it difficult to afford housing, food, and other important needs like health care and therapy. Even cell and internet service is scarce, unreliable, or unaffordable in some areas. Reliable personal transportation is also difficult to afford, meaning that commuting to fair paying jobs is also a struggle.
Most of our cleanups in these areas are for residents who are 65 and older. Surprisingly, around 20% of rural America are in this age group, according to the USDA. That means just about 20% of these areas are nearing retirement, or already retired. Retirement homes provide some job opportunities to younger populations, but what about the retired residents that are living on fixed incomes or may not qualify for welfare?
Tragically, the annual veteran suicide rate is 13.5% for all suicides in the United States. In rural areas, veterans comprise roughly 13.8% of all suicidal deaths. Unfortunately, about 1 in 7 of the suicide cleanup cases we see are veterans around this age group, or younger.
SuicideCleanUp.com is proud to fund non profit organizations like M.A.R.C.O. (Military Assistance & Relief of Cleanup Organization), established with the purpose of supporting families of veterans affected by suicide.
As far as the other issues, more accountability in the local governments is needed. For affected areas we service, like WV, we always try to inform and encourage affected families to get involved with organizations like WV Can’t Wait. Most families are unaware these organizations exist, which we believe is part of the issue.
It takes a village, but as a nationwide 24/7 emergency biohazard cleaning agency we do what we do to service and inform these communities. We’re here if you need a suicide cleanup in WY, KY, WV, MT, or elsewhere.
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