Jackson County has the third-highest suicide rate in the state, according to a recent study done by Ohio State.

In a national survey broken down by counties, the study rated each county by comparing the expected number of suicides with the actual number. Counties with a ratio of 1 represented the expected rate.

In 2014-2016, Jackson County had a ratio of 2.03, a little more than double the expected rate. That was only behind Franklin County (2.07) and Hart County (2.23) in Georgia.

September is national Suicide Prevention Month.

According to state health data, in 2016 Jackson County had 10 suicides for a rate of 15.6 per 100,000. That was not in the top tier of rates in the state, according to that data.

So far in 2019, Jackson County has had three suicides in unincorporated areas, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's office. Suicides in the county's towns were not included in the data.

The national study echoes earlier studies that have shown Jackson County to have a high suicide rate.

A 2005 Georgia study showed Jackson County to  have a suicide rate of 13.7 per 100,000 population between 1994-2002, above the state's 11.3 rate for the same period of time.

That study pointed to mental illness, substance abuse, access to firearms and social isolation as factors affecting the state's suicide rate.

The Ohio State study also echoed a CDC study that shows suicide rates between 1999-2016 had climbed significantly in many states.

Across the country, rural areas tended to have higher suicide ratios, according to the study. That was especially true in many Western states (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming), Appalachia and the Ozarks.

Counties with high "social fragmentation" had higher rates, as did counties with a large number of veterans and those who don't have health insurance. In urban areas, access to firearms appeared to be a factor in suicide rates, according to the study.

Rural counties with a high level of "deprivation" also had higher than expected suicide rates, according to the study. Deprivation in the study means lower levels of education, employment and household income.

"Rural counties may lack the flexibility and human capital necessary to adapt to meaningful changes in the broader economy, leading to greater susceptibility to deprivation than more urban or suburban communities," the report stated.


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