Nevada is struggling with mental health, child mortality

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By Suzanne Potter
This story was originally published by Public News Service

Infant mortality in Nevada rose 18% in the years immediately prior to the pandemic, a key finding in a new report from UnitedHealthcare.

The U.S. Women’s and Children’s Health 2021 Health Ranking Report compiled the numbers into 118 measures of general health.

Dr. Ravi Johar, chief medical officer at UnitedHealthcare, said the data is intended to give policy makers a sense of how the community is doing.

“Terrifyingly, about one in five women, just over 18% of women in the United States, said that 14 of them were mentally unwell in the past 30 days,” said Johar. “That’s why every fifth woman didn’t feel well for more than half a month.”

The report also found that Nevada has a low percentage of female college graduates, a high prevalence of illicit drug use among women, and a low enrollment rate in early childhood education when compared to the US as a whole.

Johar pointed out that the research also found a sharp drop in reading literacy in fourth grade.

“And think again that this is a pre-pandemic,” remarked Johar. “With schools closed and virtual learning happening, we are really concerned about what this will show in the future. “

Research showed that teenagers in Nevada are more likely to commit suicide than the national average.

Dr. Alison Netski, a psychiatrist at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV and chief organizer at Hope Means Nevada, said rates are higher in the rural west due to the availability of weapons and the lack of mental health workers.

She encouraged everyone to visit Hope Means Nevada, which has the number for the suicide prevention lifeline.

“There is information for teenagers so that they can help themselves and their friends,” Netski outlines. “There is also information for parents to learn more about the signs of mental illness. “

The state has made strides in reducing child poverty, reducing smoking, and reducing the birth rate of teenagers.


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