Suicide is on the increase in rural America--nowhere so much as in western mountain states like Idaho, Wyoming and New Mexico. Mental health professionals attribute it in part to cutbacks in Medicaid funding, to the recession and to the culture of the rural West.
In Idaho, somebody kills himself every 35 hours, according to a 2009 report to Idaho's governor by the state's Council on Suicide Prevention. Their report calls suicide "a major public health issue" having a "devastating effect" on Idaho's families, churches, businesses and even schools: 65 students aged 10 and 18 killed themselves in a recent five-year period.
Recently, a county sheriff in Bonneville told the Idaho Falls Post Register that his department was getting more suicide calls than in 2010—a year in which 290 Idahoans took their own lives. "We're in a spike right now," he says.
Historically the suicide rate in rural states has been higher than in urban ones. According to the most recent national data available, Alaska has the highest rate, at 24.6 suicides per 100,000 people. Next comes Wyoming (23.3), followed by New Mexico (21.1), Montana (21.0) and Nevada (20.2). Idaho ranks 6th, at 16.5. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Idahoans aged 15-34. Only accidents rank higher.
Kathie Garrett, co-chairman of the Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention, says the problem has gotten only worse since the recession. "The poor economy and unemployment—those put a lot of stress on people's lives," she explains. To save money, people skip doctor visits and cut back on taking prescribed medications. Cuts in Medicaid have reduced the services available to the mentally ill.
"I personally know people who lost Medicaid who've attempted suicide," says Garrett.
Reductions in funding have led to the closing of mental health offices, she says. Such closings mean more in Idaho than they would, say, in Manhattan, where a therapist can be found on every block. Before the cuts and closings, somebody in Idaho seeking therapy might have had to drive 160 miles to find it.
By late afternoon, this bit of crybaby Socialism was countered with this bit of trivia.
A Seattle woman who is receiving welfare assistance from Washington state also happens to live in a waterfront house on Lake Washington worth more than a million dollars.
Federal agents raided the home this weekend but have not released the woman or her husband's name because they have not officially been charged with a crime.
However, federal documents obtained by KING 5 News show the couple currently receives more than $1,200 a month in public housing vouchers, plus state and government disability checks and food stamps. They have been receiving the benefits since 2003.
The 2,500 square-foot home, which includes gardens and a boat dock, is valued at $1.2 million. And even though the couple has been receiving the benefits for nearly 10 years, records show that they accurately listed the address of their current home when applying for the state and federal benefits.
A federal official told KING 5 that the couple likely took advantage of a loophole, which allows low-income individuals to receive financial assistance to help them pay their rent and move away from housing projects. However, the law does not require officials to verify what type of home the benefits recipient is living in.
As if the million dollar home weren't enough, the supposedly low-income couple also gave money to various charities and traveled around the world to locales in Turkey, Tel Aviv and resort towns in Mexico, according to court records.
I'm a bit conflicted by all of this. On the one hand, I can't help but applaud someone who successfully scams our dipshit system in a such a big way. We deserve to be scammed.
On the other hand, I'm well aware that folk like this are used as poster children to justify the dismantling of any remaining social safety net.
It's as if they're saying, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know these social programs are necessary for thousands of people, but we're occasionally scammed. That's not tolerable. We want perfection."
So they toss the baby out with the bath water & feel perfectly justified in doing it.
After all, one shiftless scofflaw is worth thousands of needy people, right?
It's too bad society doesn't apply the same NEW MATH to other areas of society.
Like Banking fer instance...
Or Corporate Theology...