CHICAGO, IL – A recent study from the University of Chicago has found that social determinants of health, like access to quality healthcare, food security, job opportunities, and exposure to violence, have a direct link to suicide risk.
The study analyzed data from over 3,000 US counties and found that the suicide rate nearly doubled between the least and most socially vulnerable counties.
The study’s lead author, Robert Gibbons, said that this provides an opportunity to intervene and prevent needless deaths. Some of the proposed solutions include improving access to mental and physical healthcare, building stronger social networks through community programs and shared public spaces, and increasing access to quality healthcare, particularly in rural areas.
As the 12th leading cause of death in the US, with more than 45,000 deaths in 2020 alone, suicide prevention should be a priority for public health policies. This study sheds light on the importance of addressing social and environmental factors to reduce suicide risk.