[Ed. – This has to be some of the worst “research science” I’ve seen in a long time. The suicide RATE is higher in the thinly populated Mountain West than in the heavily populated urban East, and the difference must be lithium content in the water?]
Are places with more lithium in the water healthier, mentally? Do places with more lithium have less depression or bipolar or — most importantly of all — fewer suicides?
A 2014 review of studies concluded that the answer was yes: Four of five studies reviewed found that places with higher levels of trace lithium had lower suicide rates. And Nassir Ghaemi, the Tufts psychiatry professor who co-authored that review, argues that the effects are large. High-lithium areas, he says, have suicide rates 50 to 60 percent lower than those of low-lithium areas.
“In general, in the United States, lithium levels are much higher in the Northeast and East Coast and very low in the Mountain West,” he told me on a new episode of the Vox podcast Future Perfect. “And suicide rates track that exactly — much lower suicide rates in the Northeast, and the highest rates of suicide are in the Mountain West.”