“This is a good reminder that what we see at the national level often doesn’t reflect what’s going on in many parts of the country.”
“Broadly speaking, mortality from alcohol use disorders, suicides, and homicides has gone down since 1980, but this hides individual counties where the opposite is true. Progress overall doesn’t mean progress for everyone, and we hope that this research can be used to identify communities that are struggling,” Dwyer-Lindgren said.
The researchers hope the findings help people develop policies and public health strategies that reduce these deaths of despair.
“Deaths from substance use disorders and intentional injuries are particularly interesting from this perspective because they are preventable, and because they tend to affect younger individuals than most major causes of death,” Dwyer-Lindgren said.
“The better we all understand why some places do well and why others do poorly, the better equipped we are to improve the situation for everyone,” she said.
If you are dealing with thoughts of suicide, you can speak to someone immediately at IMAlive or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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