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Miami: One of the leading suicidal cities

Published On: 10-12-2015 in Category: behavioral health, impulse control, mental health, therapy


In relation to the data published by the National Association of County and City Health Officials and City Data, Miami made it to the number seven spot on the top 10 list of most suicidal American cities. What was even more worrisome for Florida is that Miami wasn’t the only city in the state that made it to the list. Jacksonville came in ninth.

The annual suicide rate in Miami was concluded at 17.1 per 100,000 people whereas in Jacksonville 15.6 per 100,000 people killed themselves annually.

In 2013, Florida witnessed 2,892 suicides that averaged around 7.9 deaths a day. This made suicide the ninth leading cause of death in Florida and third leading cause of death for youth aged 15 to 24.

A deeper look into Florida’s suicide trends leads to the hidden fact that rural counties are witnessing suicide rates for youth that are almost twice that of the state’s larger cities. Experts believe isolation, poverty, easy access to firearms and lack of mental health services are leading causes behind the growing trend of suicide.

Wauchula, with a population of 5,000, is one such town that does not have a single mental health clinic.

“One of the big problems in a rural area is lack of resources,” said Peggy Saddler, a guidance counselor at the only high school in the county of almost 28,000 residents.

The closest mental health clinic is more than 30 minutes away by car.

“For the average person, generally getting services, if you’re not going to Peace River Center, it means you have to travel and that’s limiting for some people,” Saddler said.

Such a position poses serious risk, as the teen suicide rate in Florida’s small towns has doubled in the past 20 years.

From 2012 through 2014, almost 8,000 youth, younger than 21, killed themselves in Florida. Of those, 520 belonged to rural communities.

Experts believe the number of teen suicides could be much higher, as medical examiners and law enforcement often lack an objective criterion to determine a death as suicide.

And, suicide prevention advocates say the statistics don’t reflect the number of suicide attempts.

Advocates claim that the isolation felt by individuals in rural communities is no different than what is experienced by people in towns of all sizes. In fact, they stress resources such as cellphones to be key lifelines.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and other groups offer free apps that utilize text, Skype or instant messages to connect teens and others to counselors who are available 24 hours a day. This nature of communication could prove helpful for small town residents and step in where parents often fail to distinguish suicidal tendencies from stereotypical teen behavior.

In 2011, the cost of living index in Miami was 115.9, which led the U.S. average of 100, according to city-data. Miami also had an unemployment rate of 13.1 percent. In 2009, the crime index was 568.8 for the city.

These factors play a vital role in the living standard of a city’s residents, affecting them not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. The recent steps of integrating Florida’s behavioral health services have been considered a positive step in the right direction. It is vital to adopt an all-encompassing approach that takes rural conditions into consideration as well.

The Miami Drug Treatment Rehab Center is designed specifically to focus its undivided attention on prioritizing the well-being of those fighting a mental illness or substance abuse disorder. If you or a loved one is struggling, call us right away at 305-615-2028.

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