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Expand chart
Adapted from Centers for Disease Control; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Suicide rates have been steadily rising over the past several years throughout the U.S., but the trend has hit rural areas the hardest, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between the lines: There's no one explanation for the trend. Having less access to mental and behavioral health experts, not seeing as much of the economic recovery, or even a tendency not be as quick to seek help could contribute to the higher rates of suicide in rural America, Dr. Jane Pearson, chair of NIMH’s Suicide Research Consortium, told Axios.

The big picture: Suicide rates in the U.S. jumped during the recession, and even though there has been significant economic recovery since then, they've continued to climb.

  • That's not true throughout the world: the global suicide rate has declined by 29% since 2000. But even in foreign countries, there often remains a disparity between rural and urban suicide rates.
  • In China, for example, the nation has become urbanized, and women — who are far more at risk of committing suicide in China— have begun moving into cities instead of caring for family in more rural areas. With that, suicide rates particularly among Chinese women have been dramatically declining, Pearson said.

One key reason for the global decline in suicide rates has been the reduction in access to lethal products that can be used as weapons. In Sri Lanka, for example, since certain deadly pesticides used on crops have been banned, suicide rates have been declining, according to the Economist.

  • In the U.S., guns are the most common means of committing suicide: 22,938 people committed suicide by firearm in 2016, according to CDC data.
  • Because of this, some suicide prevention groups and public health professionals have been reaching out to gun owners — showing up at gun shows, having events at shooting ranges — to talk about suicide prevention and how to spot gun owners who might be at risk, Pearson said.

Go deeper

Mayors feel powerless to reduce homelessness

Expand chart
Recreated from 2021 Menino Survey of Mayors; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

America's mayors know their constituents hold them accountable for homelessness, but many don't feel they have the tools or power to fix things, a brand new survey says.

Why it matters: While homelessness has become more acute during the pandemic, city leaders say they lack the money, staff or political support needed to make a meaningful difference.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Microsoft

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.

3 hours ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.