Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mental Health Maps Available from Ball State University Libraries

Maps Depicting World Suicide Rates Available from Ball State University Libraries

The Ball State University Libraries’ Atlas Collection on the second floor of Bracken Library offers more than 3,000 volumes for research and learning.  The most common type of atlas is a road or street atlas, and the collection includes many covering cities, states, and countries from around the world. 

However, many of the atlases are thematic and cover a multitude of current issues:  Atlas of Health, Atlas of Tobacco, Atlas of Religion, World Atlas of Great Apes and Their Conservation, and even Global Surfari: The Complete Atlas for the Serious Surfer are available in the collection.

The State of the World Atlas by Dan Smith was published in 2012 and includes maps describing ethnicity, education, environmental issues, war and military, and health and quality of life.  Several copies of this atlas are available in the Atlas Collection or on reserve from the GIS Research and Map Collection.  The maps from the atlas can be easily scanned and used for class papers and presentations or other research.

The atlas features information about mental health and suicide rates based on the latest data from the World Health Organization.  According to the atlas “about 800,000 people take their own lives each year, and this is the third-leading cause of death among young people.”  Mental illness is a neglected issue in care, research, and prevention around the world, and “worldwide about 450 million people suffer mental and behavioral disorders.”

The map above (click to enlarge) shows the suicide rates of women and men around the world based on 2009 data (note that some countries have no data on this issue).  The map shows high rates in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Asia for men and East Asia and some Eastern European countries for women.  Included on the map is the statistic that “someone commits suicide every 40 seconds” somewhere in the world. 

The second map, “Mental-health resources” shows the median number of psychiatric beds in general hospitals per one million people based on 2011 data from the World Health Organization.  Europe has the highest number by far while the rest of the world offers from five to thirteen.  And the map includes the statistics that “half the world’s population has access to only one psychiatrist per 200,000 people.”

For more information about using atlases for research and learning and maps as visual aids, please contact the GIS Research and Map Collection at 765-285-1097.

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