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Why the unhappy rankings for Rhode Island?

March 26, 2012

When Rhode Island ranked #1 in mental illness, serious mental illness, illegal drug use, and suicide attempts, our newsroom started wondering what in the world was wrong with this state.

Our musings about why Rhode Islanders are depressed, or why national polls seems to make us look that way, eventually transformed into a topic for our latest Policy and Pinot at the Providence Athenaeum.  Here’s the description for the forum this Tuesday night-

Rhode Island ranks number one in a range of unhappy categories- we have the highest rate of serious mental illness, illicit drug use, and suicide attempts.  Does living in the smallest state in the union make us especially depressed or self destructive? Is it just a matter of sample error? Or are we better at asking for help? That’s the focus of March’s Policy and Pinot, featuring experts from Rhode Island’s mental health and substance abuse community.

These questions must be pretty appealing to our listeners, because we’ve already filled every seat for the forum.  But if you haven’t sent in an RSVP, there’s still one way you can participate- feed me some good questions!

Here are our panelists-

What questions would you ask them?

Also, check out this opinion article by Patricia Recupero, the President and CEO of Butler Hospital. She argues that these high rankings indicate Rhode Islanders know how to ask for help.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2012 1:36 pm

    Oh-oh, my son’s moving there soon.

    • March 26, 2012 1:41 pm

      We’re not all unhappy here! I moved here more than 10 years ago and have survived so far!

  2. March 26, 2012 1:46 pm

    Exercise & Nutrition … #1, Healthy lifestyle, NO “added sugars !!!”, Pharmaceuticals as a Last Resort !

  3. March 26, 2012 1:46 pm

    “Slow Your Roll !”

  4. Bruce McIntyre permalink
    March 26, 2012 9:39 pm

    Dr. Recupero’s essay on RIs rankings on mental health issues and suicide attemps is thoughtful and potentially action provoking. Rhode Islanders may know how to ask for help and receive some treatment but the provider community is severely undervalued by the state and 3rd party payers. RI needs parity enforcement so that mental health services can intervene early and reduce suicidal ideation and attempts. It has been nearly 20 years since the failed “managed care” experiment drove many practitioners out-of-state. We can provide incentives to return by attaching real value to their work.

  5. Andrea permalink
    March 27, 2012 10:45 am

    I think you need to also look at what group you are looking at before you make the general statment “all RI persons are depressed”. I think under better scrutiny one would find that specific groups could be identified such as young 19 year old to 23 year old minority men as having greater suicide numbers. Check the facts please!

    • March 27, 2012 11:39 am

      Hi Andrea,

      Oh, I’m sorry if the post came across that way. I don’t mean to say all Rhode Islanders are depressed. We’re just trying to dig into the question of why this state ranks #1 in so many depressing categories. We’ll be taking a closer look at the numbers at tonight’s forum. I hope you can come.

  6. March 27, 2012 2:47 pm

    Depression, like other mental illnesses ebb and flow in frequency and severity. Remission is something that the healthcare industry should incorporate into their conversation about mental illness as a chronic disease. Better said, “remission” is the goal.

    • March 27, 2012 3:10 pm

      Interesting point. For some, mental illness will always be with them. It’s not something you “cure”, it’s something you keep under control.

  7. March 27, 2012 3:59 pm

    Mental illness will always be with us, not “them”. The practice diagnoses everyone with a primary and secondary disorder.
    Rhode Island refuses to remedy the injuries associated with the convictions of two of its heads of state, Edward DiPrete and Vincent Cianci. Mental health is affected by the state’s political life. DiPrete seems to have gotten away with embezzling credit unions; Providence still defends Cianci’s (Cicilline”s?) corruption by having due process subverted in the courts, all of them. Former chief Frank Williams wandered away in dementia because of this.
    My usual recommendation is, also, to have the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and the International Classification of Diseases revised at schizophrenia, so that they no longer mark knowing we’re parapsychological as a disorder, psychosis specifically.


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