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Arizona ranks 44th in U.S. when it comes to suicide among older adults

A new report that looks at the health of older adults found Arizona is doing better than in previous years but still has work to do. 

The 2022 America’s Health Rankings Senior Reporthighlights strengths and challenges across all 50 states, including  Arizona, which ranked 23rd. A big challenge facing our state is our  high suicide rate.

"That's just really sobering, isn't it, to see that Arizona is ranked 44th in the nation," said Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for United Healthcare, Employer and Individual, and the senior medical adviser to the United Health Foundation. 

"We have a tendency to see that in seniors, particularly older males, are more likely to be successful with suicide because they have a tendency to use more deadly means," she explained. "But in the state of Arizona, nearly 25 seniors for every 100,000 had suicide on the death certificate." 

That’s adjusted for the size of the population, she says. Arizona also had low flu vaccination and volunteerism rates. The state did see low obesity rates and high hospice care use — two positives. 

Senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.