CDC: Suicide rate up among middle-aged men - 8 News NOW

CDC: Suicide rate up among middle-aged men

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LAS VEGAS -- The suicide of comedian Robin Williams is part of a growing trend in the United States. Middle-aged white men have the highest rate of suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The suicide rate among all Americans -- male and female -- between the ages of 35 and 64 are up 30-percent and the statistics are worse for men.

Williams was hysterically funny with a life full of fame and fortune. So, how could he feel so unfulfilled? Psychologist Luis Mortillaro says depression is a biological disease.

"I've seen it more and more and it's a risk factor," Mortillaro said.

The comedian publicly suffered from depression for years.

Mortillaro has noticed more men around the same age as Williams are becoming depressed. However, unlike Williams, the struggling economy has been the tipping point for average Las Vegans.

"I think there's a lot of pressure for middle-aged men, or men to be the hunter-gatherer, to earn money, to be successful with their career, to be a great dad, to be a great husband," Mortillaro said,

He says people who notice friends or family talking about taking their life have the first opportunity to help them by offering emotional support.

While Nevada has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, fewer people are taking their lives. The latest annual statistics show the number of suicides in the state dropping by 31 deaths, even though there is still more than one suicide a day.

"It's a big step forward because Nevada has never been, until 2011 stats came out, lower than 5th in the nation and for many years we were number one," said Richard Egan, Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention.

The relatively new Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention has a review committee dedicated to researching the history of Nevadans who have killed themselves. It's hoped those findings will continue to lower the staggering numbers of suicides in the state.

The Suicide Prevention hotline number is 1-800-273-TALK. You can also join the state's volunteer program called Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention.

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