Rural Suicides Follow Medicaid Cuts

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-30-2002
Rural Suicides Follow Medicaid Cuts
11
Mon, 12-05-2011 - 9:18pm

This is incredibly sad. We had a woman jump of a freeway overpass this AM. My mother in law works with people like this and her hours have recently been cut in half.

http://news.yahoo.com/rural-suicides-medicaid-cuts-204257613.html

Suicide is on the increase in rural America--nowhere so much as in western mountain states like Idaho, Wyoming and New Mexico. Mental health professionals attribute it in part to cutbacks in Medicaidfunding, to the recession and to the culture of the rural West.

In Idaho, somebody kills himself every 35 hours, according to a 2009 report to Idaho's governor by the state's Council on Suicide Prevention. Their report calls suicide "a major public health issue" having a "devastating effect" on Idaho's families, churches, businesses and even schools: 65 students aged 10 and 18 killed themselves in a recent five-year period.

Recently, a county sheriff in Bonneville told the Idaho Falls Post Register that his department was getting more suicide calls than in 2010—a year in which 290 Idahoans took their own lives. "We're in a spike right now," he says.

Historically the suicide rate in rural states has been higher than in urban ones. According to the most recent national data available, Alaska has the highest rate, at 24.6 suicides per 100,000 people. Next comes Wyoming (23.3), followed by New Mexico (21.1), Montana (21.0) and Nevada (20.2). Idaho ranks 6th, at 16.5. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Idahoans aged 15-34. Only accidents rank higher.

Kathie Garrett, co-chairman of the Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention, says the problem has gotten only worse since the recession. "The poor economy and unemployment—those put a lot of stress on people's lives," she explains. To save money, people skip doctor visits and cut back on taking prescribed medications. Cuts in Medicaid have reduced the services available to the mentally ill.

"I personally know people who lost Medicaid who've attempted suicide," says Garrett.

Reductions in funding have led to the closing of mental health offices, she says. Such closings mean more in Idaho than they would, say, in Manhattan, where a therapist can be found on every block. Before the cuts and closings, somebody in Idaho seeking therapy might have had to drive 160 miles to find it.

Kim Kane, executive director of Idaho's Suicide Prevention Action Network in Idaho says other factors explain the high rate of suicide in western mountain states. One is the greater prevalence of guns: In 2010, 63 percent of Idaho suicides involved a firearm, compared with the national average of 50 percent.

She and Garrett also say the West's pride in rugged individualism can prevent people from seeking help. Their feeling, says Kane, is that they ought to be able to pull themselves up by their mental bootstraps. Idaho is the only state not to have a suicide-prevention hotline.

Garret, who has served in the Idaho legislature, complains state policy-makers don't all view mental illness as an illness—one on a par, say, with glaucoma or pancreatitis. Their belief, she says, is that a person suffering depression ought to be able to get help from church or family, rather than from state-provided professionals. "I told them," she says of her fellow legislators, "that when I had cancer, what I needed was a doctor. My family gave me support. My church gave me faith. But I still needed a surgeon."

Dave Strong, an assessment and referral coordinator for the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, says the people now most at risk, ironically, are not the most severely ill. "Schizophrenics, once they've been diagnosed and qualified by Medicaid, don't fall out of treatment," he says." They're always able to get services."

Rather, it's people suffering the first onset of their disease who have the hardest time getting treatment. With services reduced, the mildly depressed now have to wait until their condition has reached a crisis stage to before they can get medical attention.

"We wait too long now to get treatment to them," said Garrett. "It's like telling somebody with diabetes that he'll have to wait until he's in a coma." People with mental illness, she says, can and do recover. "There's a 60 to 80 percent chance they will. But it takes time. The meds are very tricky: it's not a case of one-size-fits-all." Given that seven years can pass between diagnosis and getting a successful treatment going, it's important, she says, to start early.

It's important, too, "to remind the people reading this that there is always hope. All that anybody feeling suicidal has to do to get help is call the national hotline number. Dial 800-273-TALK (8255)."



Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2000
Thu, 12-08-2011 - 9:47am
Sensible move.

 


Photobucket&nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2011
Thu, 12-08-2011 - 9:00am
If the suicide rates you provided are correct, this would mean rates have shot up under the Obama administration. Someone may want to see if there is a causal relation to this administration and increased suicide rates. The older rates, as http://www.suicide.org show under Bush rates were much lower.

I read one suicide every 15 minutes over here - http://www.suicide.org/suicide-statistics.html#2005 for 2005. On the same site, they provide aggregate suicide rates over the years from 1950 to 2003, looks like the trend is toward fewer suicides per capita - http://www.suicide.org/suicide-statistics.html#death-rates

If there is a causal link with Medicaid cuts, studies will need to be done. Assuming a cut this year, still results in more Medicaid spending than last year, it's tough for me to conclude the supposed cuts are causal to any alleged increase in suicide rate. As the supposed cuts are cuts in increases, and not cuts in actual spending.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2009
Thu, 12-08-2011 - 2:39am
<<< I know that but easy access to firearms gives the suicidal a means to end their lives.
From posted article......
>" Kim Kane, executive director of Idaho's Suicide Prevention Action Network in Idaho says other factors explain the high rate of suicide in western mountain states. One is the greater prevalence of guns: In 2010, 63 percent of Idaho suicides involved a firearm, compared with the national average of 50 percent."<

We had a problem a few years ago. Moved the guns out of the house. Have had them back for several years now.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2008
Tue, 12-06-2011 - 2:27pm
Photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2000
Tue, 12-06-2011 - 12:30pm

"The easy access to guns is not the reason for high suicides."

I know that but easy access to firearms gives the suicidal a means to end their lives.
From posted article......
>" Kim Kane, executive director of Idaho's Suicide Prevention Action Network in Idaho says other factors explain the high rate of suicide in western mountain states. One is the greater prevalence of guns: In 2010, 63 percent of Idaho suicides involved a firearm, compared with the national average of 50 percent."<

 


Photobucket&nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2011
Tue, 12-06-2011 - 11:02am

"Before I'd read the entire article the easy access to guns came to mind."

The easy access to guns is not the reason for high suicides.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2011
Tue, 12-06-2011 - 11:01am

"Where would you suggest they move the guns too? My house? "

I would suggest they move the guns out of THEIR house.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2000
Tue, 12-06-2011 - 8:39am

>"In 2010, 63 percent of Idaho suicides involved a firearm"<

Before I'd read the entire article the easy access to guns came to mind.

>"complains state policy-makers don't all view mental illness as an illness—"<

Many aren't sympathetic towards those with mental problems. My bipolar DD, for instance, finds little sympathy or understanding from her father, my exDH.

>"The meds are very tricky: it's not a case of one-size-fits-all." Given that seven years can pass between diagnosis and getting a successful treatment going, it's important, she says, to start early"<

Plus a med. can work for a time then it stops working & other treatments have to be tried. It's frustrating.

 


Photobucket&nbs

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2005
Mon, 12-05-2011 - 11:33pm
PeopleAreCrazy wrote:

Wouldn't it be smarter to just get the guns out of the house all together?

What do you mean by "He can't get any help"?

~~Sam stitches well with others, runs with scissors in her pocket. Cheerful and stupid.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2011
Mon, 12-05-2011 - 10:37pm

Wouldn't it be smarter to just get the guns out of the house all together?

What do you mean by "He can't get any help"?

Pages