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Report: suicide rates higher for people in rural areas, near gun shops

Experts talk about contributing factors locally
Posted at 5:45 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 20:45:37-04

BAKERSFIELD, CA. — According to a recent report, people who live in rural areas, or near a gun shop in the city, are more at risk of suicide.

JAMA Network Open looked at adult suicides from 1996 to 2016 across the country.

Program Support Supervisor for the Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Crisis Hotline, Ellen Eggert, said the findings reflect the same issues locally.

"People who live in rural areas have a lower rate of education, higher poverty, less chance of getting a job and so they already have the odds stacked against them," said Eggert.

Eggert said 52 percent of suicides are done by firearms.

"When something is more accessible, people are more apt to use it," Eggert.

Eggert said educating gun shop owners on looking for warning signs and creating a conversation in those spaces is essential.

We reached out to local gun shops to get their reaction to the report, but have not heard back at this time.

If you or someone you know if struggling and needs help, you can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.