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Senate Deal Raises Hopes for a Reduction in Gun Suicides

A bipartisan U.S. Senate agreement negotiated after high-profile mass shootings in Texas, New York, and Oklahoma lacks gun access restrictions that advocates say are needed to prevent such attacks. But the deal’s focus on mental health has raised hopes — and doubts — that it will help reduce gun suicides, particularly in rural Western states […]

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Buy and Bust: When Private Equity Comes for Rural Hospitals

MEXICO, Mo. — When the new corporate owners of two rural hospitals suddenly announced they would stop admitting patients one Friday in March, Kayla Schudel, a nurse, stood resolute in the nearly empty lobby of Audrain Community Hospital: “You’ll be seen; the ER is open.” The hospital — with 40 beds and five clinics — […]

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States Fight Student Mental Health Crisis With Days Off

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Linnea Sorensen falls into a funk whenever her girlfriend of four years leaves for her six-month stints with the Marines, and the high school junior has trouble concentrating on her class work. “I’m somebody who struggles with my mental health quite a bit,” said the 17-year-old, who attends school in this suburb […]

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The Blackfeet Nation’s Plight Underscores the Fentanyl Crisis on Reservations

BROWNING, Mont. — As the pandemic was setting in during summer 2020, Justin Lee Littledog called his mom to tell her he was moving from Texas back home to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana with his girlfriend, stepson, and son. They moved in with his mom, Marla Ollinger, on a 300-acre ranch on the […]

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This Rural, Red Southern County Was a Vaccine Success Story. Not Anymore.

MEIGS COUNTY, Tenn. — At a glance, it seemed like a Southern pandemic success story in a most unlikely place. A small county northeast of Chattanooga, along the twisting banks of Chickamauga Lake, for much of the past year has reported the highest covid-19 vaccination rate in Tennessee and one of the highest in the […]

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States Have Yet to Spend Hundreds of Millions of Federal Dollars to Tackle Covid Health Disparities

The Biden administration in March 2021 announced it was investing $2.25 billion to address covid health disparities, the largest federal funding initiative designed specifically to help underserved communities hardest hit by the virus. Two months later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded grants to every state health department and 58 large city and […]