The suicide rate in Summit and other mountain communities is consistently higher than the national average. Of the 10 states with the highest suicide rates, eight were in the Rocky Mountains region: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
A variety of sociological factors — such as the rural and isolated nature of mountain communities, financial stress, a shortage of mental health providers and higher rates of substance and alcohol use — have been blamed as possible reasons for high suicide rates in the mountains.
Given the kaleidoscope of individual experiences and the complex nature of mental health, no single factor, or even a group of factors, has been definitively proven to create the nexus for suicide, though many factors can have a part to play. We know there is a higher rate of suicide at higher-altitude, but the mystery persists as to why. Is it sociological, economic and cultural factors, or is there a biological link between high altitude environments and suicide or suicidal ideation?
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