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November 28, 2007

But They Can Still Go To ERs!

In more depressing study news, a new report shows that states with lower insurance rates have higher suicide rates, even after controlling for factors like income. This seems like a complicated study to carry out given the range of possible confounding factors, but the data is suggestive and, on some level, pretty intuitive, so I wouldn't dismiss it too quickly.

November 28, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Native Americans are fully covered under the the IHS and they have a higher suicide rate than the general population. With the confounding factors in the study, I would dismiss it rather quickly.

Posted by: jenga | Nov 28, 2007 11:30:26 AM

a frequent call on a suicide line will come from someone who has gone off of their meds, is not properly regulated on them, is not receiving treatment or who cannot get in touch with their psychiatrist.
compound this with the financial instability many of these people have, especially when they are abandoned by family and have no friends...it is not a good picture.
at least the continuity of psychiatric care and therapy often helps a suffering person to be stabilized, have a person to talk with, feel somewhat monitored and less alone.
smile more at the people you pass on the street, especially this time of year.

Posted by: jacqueline | Nov 28, 2007 11:32:27 AM

I assume you mean "States where fewer people are able to afford insurance" vs. "States in which the insurance premiums are lower." At first I thought you meant the latter.

Posted by: Kate | Nov 28, 2007 12:09:40 PM

I'm trying to think of any common factor between South Dakota and Hawaii that make them #1 and #2 for least depressed states.

Posted by: Kenny | Nov 28, 2007 12:49:26 PM

DC has the lowest suicide rate? I guess I can use stereotypes to argue that suicide rates should be either higher or lower in urban areas, but I still find it surprising. Usually we end up looking bad in these apple-and-oranges comparisons with the states.

Posted by: KCinDC | Nov 28, 2007 12:51:50 PM

Kenny, I made the same mistake in interpretation at first also; actually, the chart is mislabeled, I think. It should read "documented cases of depression" since this would be the only way to come up with a figure. So for those w/o insurance, their cases just do not get documented & do not show up in the figures. Because their depression is untreated, they are more likely to end up as suicide statistics.

Ezra, I hope your headline was a snark? Also did you mean to say "states with lower insurance coverage rates"? Otherwise the sentence makes no sense.

Posted by: bob in fla | Nov 28, 2007 5:39:02 PM

think first before pressing ENTER . . .
When comparing the 2 charts, it would appear South Dakota, while rated the lowest rate of depression on the chart, has a high number of unreported depression since their suicide rate is the 11th worst in the country. Also, as Jenga noted above, American Indians are automatically covered. However, the health care offered on the reservations has always been the poorest available in the country. So the results there indicate the study's overall premise - lack of available healthcare leads to higher suicide rates.

Hawaii, shown as having the 2nd lowest rate of depression OTOH, ranks 9th lowest in suicides, indicating they have a higher percentage of depression cases documented. So there are no similarities between the two states.

Posted by: bob in fla | Nov 28, 2007 6:08:13 PM

think first before pressing ENTER . . .
When comparing the 2 charts, it would appear South Dakota, while rated the lowest rate of depression on the chart, has a high number of unreported depression since their suicide rate is the 11th worst in the country. Also, as Jenga noted above, American Indians are automatically covered. However, the health care offered on the reservations has always been the poorest available in the country. So the results there indicate the study's overall premise - lack of available healthcare leads to higher suicide rates.

Hawaii, shown as having the 2nd lowest rate of depression OTOH, ranks 9th lowest in suicides, indicating they have a higher percentage of depression cases documented. So there are no similarities between the two states.

Posted by: bob in fla | Nov 28, 2007 6:08:49 PM

So why are european suicide rates higher?

Posted by: LA | Nov 28, 2007 10:58:36 PM

bob-
I was just making the comment that a measurement of this:

States ranked by the prevalence and seriousness of depression among residents

irrespective of context, is, in itself, very interesting and worthy of further study if #1 and #2 are SD & HI

Because Hawaii and South Dakota are about as different as you can get in terms of climate, urbanization, ethnography, political preferences, economic engines, wealth distribution, and any other confounding factor I can think of that normally crop up in these sort of studies.

So, I think whatever was used to created the first list is a very interesting data set. I have really no clue without further in depth reading if it useful in illustrating a consequence of being uninsured.

Posted by: Kenny | Nov 29, 2007 12:39:40 AM

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