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Report: Suicide Rates Climb for Middle-Aged Men

July 6, 2010

CONCORD, N.H. - Suicide rates are rising for men and women between the ages of 45 and 54, but according to a report recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rates are highest for men. Dr. Mark Ciocca, a psychologist at Capital Valley Counseling Associates, Concord, attributes the rise to many factors, including job losses, higher rates of alcohol and substance abuse, and subsequent relationship stress - all of which can contribute to feelings of isolation and depression.

Ciocca also points out that men are also far less likely to seek help than women.

"The culture of male socialization discourages men from help-seeking - particularly help in the form of psychotherapy, but also medical help in general."

Dr. Ciocca advises men to reach out when they are feeling depressed, and to recognize the benefits of talk therapy, as well as properly prescribed medication, in treating symptoms of depression.

"Be real with yourself, admit that you're not feeling yourself. Seek help for it: Talk to other men you trust, and get recommendations from them about who they have sought help from. You'll be surprised that more of the men you know have been in treatment than you believe."

If more high-profile people come forward with issues such as depression and mental illness, Ciocca says it will help erase old attitudes. He adds that even male-targeted marketing would help, since many ads for products to control depression are geared toward women.

The study data is from 2007; statistics and further information are available at www.suicidology.org and at www.cdc.gov.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - NH