Suicide and Altitude

Suicide and Altitude

Top of Mind with Julie Rose

Egypt, Sundance, Suicide and Altitude, Waking Up White

Episode: Egypt, Sundance, Suicide and Altitude, Waking Up White

  • Jan 28, 2016 11:00 pm
  • 14:28 mins

Guest: Perry Renshaw, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Utah  By one ranking, Utah is America’s happiest state. The beautiful surroundings certainly contribute – if you’ve never seen the mountain range running along Utah’s biggest cities, you’re missing out.  But here’s a paradox that puzzles public health officials: the suicide rate in the American West – Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming—is roughly 1.5 times higher than in the rest of the nation. Researchers sometimes call it "the Suicide Belt."  Is it the landscape? The social structure? Something in the “Western mindset” that causes more people to take their own life? University of Utah psychiatry professor Perry Renshaw has proposed an intriguing hypothesis – he says it’s the altitude.