Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in Wyoming. Its believed that the state’s isolation, reliance on guns, and “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” attitude make it a high-risk state for suicide. Men of middle age are the most likely to attempt suicide. In addition, the state has a high proportion of veterans and military members. Veterans accounted for 6,261 of all suicide deaths last year.
Gun-related suicides comprise 59% of all suicides
Gun-related suicides are an increasingly common method of suicide. There are many factors associated with these attempts, including alcohol or substance abuse, past suicide attempts, and serious mental illness. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the odds of dying from suicide with a firearm are nearly three times greater than those who attempt suicide without a firearm.
Nationwide, gun-related suicide rates are disproportionately higher among white women, especially those in their fifties. Their rates are almost five times higher than those of their male peers. A lack of access to mental health services, education, and gun ownership are among the other risk factors associated with gun-related suicides.
Unemployment and low income are associated with high risk of suicide
Wyoming has a high rate of suicide, and both unemployment and low income are related to higher rates. Although Wyoming’s employment rate survived the recession of the 2000s, the recent economic decline due to COVID and other factors has left many families in a tough situation. The rate is also significantly higher for white, middle-aged men than for other races, and American Indians are especially at risk.
Although Wyoming’s suicide rate is higher than the national average, it is disproportionately high among middle-aged white men. These men, largely from rural areas, have a 44 percent suicide rate, which is nearly three times the national average. The rate is even higher among men in Wyoming, where 80 percent are white, and half are between the ages of 45-64.
White men are at highest risk
As mentioned, the state of Wyoming, white middle-aged men are at the highest risk of suicide. Suicide among this group is three times as high as the national average. In fact, white men in the state make up eighty percent of the total number of suicides. In addition, they’re more likely than other groups to lack pride in becoming old. While this might seem like a surprising fact, studies suggests that a lack of pride in aging may be a contributing factor to the high suicide rate among older white men.
While the CDC has not explained the reasons behind the higher rates of suicide in Wyoming, local culture may be a factor. The “cowboy-up” mentality is a part of the culture in Wyoming, and its inherent self-reliance puts individuals at risk when faced with a personal crisis. Suicide rates have been on the rise for the past century. Other races, such as American Indians, are also more likely to attempt suicide.
Men are more resistant to seeking help
Men have been known to be more resistant to seeking help when they experience depression and other mental health issues than women. Many men believe that the emotions that trigger depression are feminine and don’t belong in a “man’s world.” However, research shows that men are more likely to die by suicide than women.
Despite this widespread issue, Wyoming has tried new programs to curb the suicide rate. The state is now providing a “psychological autopsy” to family members of suicide victims, which aims to understand what may have led them to commit suicide. Despite these efforts, the cultural stigma associated with seeking mental health help persists. Many people are hesitant to seek help and have a hard time talking to qualified therapists.
There is more awareness about this crisis than ever and more resources for help too. If you need help get it and if you know people who need help, point them to resources that can assist them.