Rural Suicide a Concern in Texas

Jun 1, 2016

LaNelia Ramette holds a portrait of her son Michael in a Coppell park on May 21, 2016. Ramette lost her son to suicide in 2010 and now helps families dealing with the suicide of a loved one.
Credit Laura Buckman / Texas Tribune

Recent efforts to prevent suicide in Texas are focusing on the state’s small towns, reports The Texas Tribune. The Tribune recently analyzed Texas death records from 2004 to 2013. The paper found that the rate of suicide is 15 percent higher in counties with an urban population of less than 20,000 people than it is in more metropolitan counties.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the suicide rate nationwide has increased by 24 percent since 1999. The rate has grown more slowly in the Lone Star State, but is still a matter for public health concern.

During this century, rural suicide rates have far outpaced urban ones, in Texas and the nation at large. The problem is most severe among youth. Rural adolescents commit suicide at roughly twice the rate of urban youths.  One thing that has hindered research efforts is that Texas doesn’t keep track of suicide attempts.