Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In Idaho, suicide high in causes of death

Marriages, divorces continue to decline in Blaine County, but birth rates are up

Express Staff Writer

    Suicide was the eighth-most common cause of death in Idaho two years ago, with 19.1 instances per 100,000 people, according to the recently released 2012 Vital Statistics compendium. Nationwide, suicide is ranked tenth, with 12 instances per 100,000 people. The statewide rate increased by 0.6 between 2011 and 2012.
    The annual report, compiled by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, lists facts and figures for national, statewide and countywide marriage, divorce, death, birth and abortion rates.
    The Idaho population went up 1.8 percent between 2011 and 2012, though the total number of Blaine County residents decreased by less than 1 percent.
    According to the report, males have a much higher suicide rate than females—it’s tied for the leading cause of death for men aged 20 to 24 in Idaho alone. Over 75 percent of those who committed suicide in 2012 were men. More than 50 men between the ages of 45 and 54 committed suicide in Idaho in 2012, as compared with 16 women in that age range.
    Historically, the suicide rate nationwide for men is about four times higher than that of women, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The foundation states that suicide rates in the western part of the United States are the highest nationwide, with Idaho among the top six states for death by self-harm in 2010.
    In its 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment, St. Luke’s Wood River hospital cites suicide as an above-average concern for its clientele base. According to the assessment, Idaho has one of the highest percentages of mental illness in the nation, with almost one-fourth of the adult population afflicted between 2008 and 2009—the third-highest percentage in the nation.
    The report points to the disproportionately high number of returning military service people, along with a large mentally-ill population, as two of the reasons behind Idaho’s suicide rate.
    “Up to 50 percent of soldiers returning from active duty report psychological problems and depression symptoms,” the report states.

The majority of abortion recipients in Blaine County were over 20 years of age—only two were teenagers.
    The top killers statewide are cancer, heart disease and lower respiratory disease, respectively, the state report indicates.
    Nationwide, heart-disease deaths take the top slot but are closely followed by cancer. Heart disease mortality rates in Idaho are much lower than the nationwide average, with 151.3 deaths per 100,000 people, as compared with 173.7 deaths per 100,000 people nationwide. The leading cause of death for Idaho men is heart disease, while cancer claims the most female residents. Some 20 Blaine County residents died of cancer in 2012 and 16 from heart disease, the report says.
    Alzheimer’s disease ranked sixth for mortality causes statewide in 2011, but took seventh in 2012, as it was replaced by diabetes. Approximately 25 women per 100,000 die from Alzheimer’s, as compared with 18 men per 100,000 statewide.
    Death rates in Idaho have largely stayed the same since 2011, with the highest mortality rates in December and March, respectively. There has been a slight increase over the most recent years for which there is data: 11,411 in 2010, 11,990 in 2011 and 11,993 in 2012.
    In Blaine County, 88 residents—50 male and 38 female—died in 2012, as compared with 100 in 2011. The majority of residents were 85 years or older at their time of death. Only 13 of the deaths occurred in residents under the age of 55.
    In District 5, which includes Blaine County, the average life expectancy at birth is 79.5 years of age—76.9 for men and 82.4 for women.
    Idaho has also seen a 1.3 percent increase in abortions between 2011 and 2012, though the number of actual residents receiving abortions has declined by 4.4 percent. In Blaine County, there were 41 residents who received abortions, two of which went out of state for the procedure. The majority of abortion recipients in Blaine County were over 20 years of age—only two were teenagers. Statewide, 322 teenagers received abortions that year.
    Conversely, 13 Blaine County teenagers had babies in 2012, though the mothers were either 18 or 19 years old. The birth rate has increased for all female Blaine County residents between 2011 and 2012, from 213 to 235 births. The majority of mothers who gave birth that year were between 25 and 29 years old.
    The average age of both brides and grooms who got married in 2012 was between 20 and 24 years old. There has been a steady decrease in marriages statewide and countywide since 2008. There were 150 weddings in Blaine County in 2012, with 101 of them occurring between two Idaho residents.
    Divorces have also seen a yearly decrease in both Blaine County and Idaho as a whole. There were 7,598 Idaho couples in 2012 that divorced, with only 69 of them from Blaine County.
Amy Busek:

2012 Vital Statistics
·    Blaine County 2011 population (estimate): 21,199.
·    Blaine County 2012 population (estimate): 21,146.
·    150 in Blaine County or 7.1 per 1,000 people.
·    101 couples were both residents of Idaho.
·    9 couples had one partner who wasn’t a resident.
·    40 couples were both non-residents.
·    69 in Blaine County, or 3.3 per 1,000 people.
·    88 in Blaine County, or 4.2 per 1,000 people.
·    12 fewer deaths countywide since 2011.
·    Majority of deaths occurred in people over 85 years old.
Live births:
·    235 in Blaine County, or 11.1 per 1,000 people. Up from 213 in 2011.
·    41 performed on Blaine County residents; 39 procedures occurred in state.

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