rural health

As the nation's dairy farmers struggle through their fourth year of depressed milk prices, concerns are rising that many are becoming depressed themselves. The outlook for the next year is so bleak, it's heightening worries — especially in the Northeast — about farmer suicides.

Agri-Mark Inc., a dairy cooperative with about 1,000 members, saw three farmers take their own lives in the past three years. The most recent was last month. It's a very small sample, but very sharp and disturbing increase.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

This story was originally published February 6. It has been updated as of February 9 at 1 pm.

The Atchison-Holt Ambulance District spans two counties and 1,100 square miles in the far northwest corner of Missouri. The EMTs who drive these ambulances cover nearly 10 times more land area than their counterparts in Omaha, the nearest major city. 

For those not familiar with Missouri, the so-called "Bootheel" refers to the wedge of the state that juts down between Tennessee and Arkansas — a area that's been profiled by Side Effect's own Bram Sable-Smith, who covered a struggling rural hospital there in 2017.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When the hospital closed in rural Ellington, Missouri, a town of about 1,000, the community lost its only emergency room, too. 

That was 2016. That same year, a local farmer had a heart attack.


Seth Herald / for WOSU

On a fall morning, Gary Jones takes a walk in his wooded property in Licking County, Ohio. Like many people, long walks helps him to clear his head.

“So it’s all kind of a similar thing, it’s just a little exaggerated with, uh, post-traumatic stress,” Jones says.


$5 Per Tooth Extractions Draw Those Without Affordable Dental Care

Oct 3, 2017
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU

After 20 years of selling and using meth, 38-year-old Andy Moss turned his life around. He got off drugs and got a good job. Next step: he wanted to fix his teeth, which had disintegrated, leaving nerves exposed.

Without Price Breaks, Rural Hospitals Struggle To Stock Lifesaving Drugs

Sep 18, 2017
Sarah Jane Tribble / Kaiser Health News

Hospital pharmacist Mandy Langston remembers when Lulabelle Berry arrived at Stone County Medical Center’s emergency department last year.

Berry couldn’t talk. Her face was drooping on one side. Her eyes couldn’t focus.

“She was basically unresponsive,” Langston recalls.

In Appalachia, Two Hospital Giants Seek State-Sanctioned Monopoly

Jul 24, 2017
Phil Galewitz / Kaiser Health News

Looking out a fourth-floor window of his hospital system’s headquarters, Alan Levine can see the Appalachian Mountains that have defined this hardscrabble region for generations.

Bram Sable-Smith / Side Effects Public Media

$1.25 million.

That’s the size of the bill that could have shuttered the only public hospital in rural Pemiscot County, Missouri in August 2013.

Four years ago, Cait Hogan woke up in her bed on a Sunday morning after a night of drinking in the small college town of Athens, Ohio. Her entire body hurt. Her arms and legs were covered in blood. She realized she’d been raped.

Pages