Oct 28, 2019

Providers, employers link up on suicide prevention

Aïda Amer/Axios

Hospital-based programs are working with employers and community organizations to tackle gun violence and suicide.

What's happening: Companies have pleaded with Congress to pass stronger gun control laws to help stop workplace shootings and suicides. But as bills from the House stall in the Senate, employers are turning to health care providers for help.

By the numbers: The suicide rate among adults ages 16 to 64 rose 34% from 2000 to 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Where it stands: Businesses don't want to get into partisan conversations about gun violence. Instead, they're working with clinicians on access to treatment, warning signs and safety measures for employees, per the Harvard Business Review.

  • In Utah, Intermountain Healthcare partners with human-resources departments and local religious leaders on an outreach program designed to reduce the state's high suicide rate.
  • In New York City, The NYPD is partnering with a privately run hospital for free counseling and prescriptions. At least 10 officers have died by suicide this year.

Yes, but: Many employees still struggle to get their mental health treatment covered, NPR reports.

  • Out-of-pocket spending on inpatient mental health care between 2012 and 2017 grew nearly 13 times faster than all inpatient care.

The bottom line: The American Psychological Association found the percentage of people dealing with suicidal thoughts increased by 47% from 2008 to 2017.

  • 60% of all gun deaths in 2017 were from suicide, the Pew Research Center notes.
  • There is great public support among gun owners and non-gun owners for health care providers to talk about gun safety, an October study published in Health Affairs says.

If you have any thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please pick up the phone right now and call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Go deeper

CDC: The jobs with the highest rates of suicide in the U.S.

Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2018 analyzed suicide deaths among working-age Americans in 17 states to understand how different types of work influence a person's risk of killing oneself.

Why it matters: The CDC found that the suicide rate for people ages 16–64 years old rose 34% between 2000 and 2016, from 12.9 to 17.3 suicides per 100,000 workers. The federal agency also reported that suicide rates varied widely across occupational groups and that people involved in certain types of work, such as construction and extraction or production jobs, may be at a higher risk of suicide than other workers.

Go deeperArrowNov 17, 2019

Mental health coverage is getting worse

Data: Mental Health Treatment and Research Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals

As suicide and overdose rates have increased, mental health and substance abuse insurance coverage has gotten worse, according to a new Milliman report commissioned by the Mental Health Treatment and Research Institute.

Why it matters: Behavioral health treatment often isn't covered by insurance, and it's often unaffordable — including for patients for whom treatment is a matter of life and death.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019 - Health

Gun safety group is biggest outside spender in Va. state elections

Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Ahead of Virginia's elections Nov. 5, gun safety group Everytown tells Axios they're "outspending the NRA by more than 8-to-1" to help Democrats flip the state's General Assembly.

Why it matters: Everytown says it is the biggest outside spender in the election. Gun politics is changing rapidly around the country and within a swing state once predictably red and pro-gun rights. Gun policy is the top issue for Virginia voters, but those supporting Republicans were just as likely as those supporting Democrats to say it will be "very important" for their vote, per a Washington Post poll.

Go deeperArrowNov 1, 2019