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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

Apple debuts plan to detect images of child sexual abuse

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Apple announced new iPhone features Thursday that it said would enable the detection and reporting of illegal images of child sexual abuse while preserving users' privacy.

Driving the news: One new system will use cryptographic hashes to identify illegal images that users are uploading to Apple's iCloud without Apple directly snooping in users' troves of photos, which can be encrypted.

California wildfire explodes in size, destroys historic town

Battalion Chief Sergio Mora looks on as the Dixie fire burns through downtown Greenville, Calif. on Aug. 4, 2021. Photo: Josh EdelsonAFP via Getty Images

The small Sierra town of Greenville, Calif., was heavily damaged on Wednesday night into early Thursday as the Dixie Fire surged northward amid high winds, extremely dry air and hot temperatures.

The big picture: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze and the sixth-largest wildfire in state history, razed houses and businesses as it ripped through Greenville and surrounding areas in Plumas County.

DOJ investigating city of Phoenix and Phoenix police department

Phoenix Police confront demonstrators in 2017. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The Department of Justice announced in a press conference Thursday it is opening a "pattern or practice" investigation into the city of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department.

Driving the news: The Justice Department's probe comes after the Biden administration reversed a Trump policy of not investigating police departments. It looks into several possible violations exhibited by the city's police department: