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School of Public Health News April 24, 2023

Azar Abadi, a climate epidemiologist at the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and her colleagues recently studied the association between drought exposure and risk of suicide in the United States. They found that drought conditions, as estimated using 2000–2018 data from NOAA’s Evaporative Demand Drought Index, were correlated with higher rates of firearm suicide, particularly among nonurban populations. “We found that rural communities are more susceptible,” said Abadi, who shared her team’s findings at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2022. These findings are particularly concerning, said Abadi, because some groups of rural dwellers are already overrepresented in suicide cases compared with the general population.

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