Drug overdoses, suicide, and Alzheimer’s disease fueled the first rise in the country’s death rate in a decade, according to The New York Times.
Previously, death rates have jumped among subgroups, but it’s growing increasingly rare for the population as a whole—likely the result of better disease management and knowledge regarding personal health. In 2015, the country’s mortality rate increased to 729.5 deaths per 100,000 people from 723.2 in 2014. AIDS and the flu have pushed it up about four times in the past 25 years.
The Texas Tribune’s Edgar Walters last week zoomed into the issue of suicide, which accounts for about eight deaths every day in the state of Texas. Walters found that suicide in Denton County accounted for about a death a week there. The act impacts rural areas more acutely than urban, as the suicide rate state’s lesser-populated counties jumped 20 percent between 2004 and 2013. Smaller towns have less access to mental health services—about 200 of Texas’ 254 counties are federally designated as Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas.