GREEN BAY (NBC26) — Middle aged men have the highest rate of suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Mental health workers in the Fox Valley, like Chris Wardlow, prevention specialist for the Zero Suicide Coalition, are trying to bring those numbers down.
“We are socialized not to reach out for help not to talk about mental health issues, really to toughen up and internalize any feelings that we might have," he said.
The Zero Suicide Aoalition has been trying to find ways to lower the suicide rate for men in the Fox Valley for years.
“The people that are dying at the highest rate of suicide are people that look like me," said Wardlow. "They’re adult males.”
With the pandemic bringing mental health issues into the public spotlight, the coalition launched a resource web site, as part of the Strong 4 Men campaign. Men can anonymously hear testimonials from videos and podcasts, take free screenings and find self-care tools.
“The brain is just like any other organ in the body, and if it’s not well, it needs help," said Wardlow. "Like if my heart's not well, if any other part of my body is not well, I get help for it, and nobody thinks twice about that right? We want that to be the norm for mental health.”
This is a much needed resource, said Sarah Bassing-Sutton, suicide prevention coordinator for the Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health Connection Community.
“Mental health is one of those topics that’s a little bit taboo in our society for men, especially being categorized as the strong, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, you don’t need to ask for help you’re the one who solve the problems, you ask you know other people ask you for help," she said. "Life doesn’t have to be that hard. You can do something to get some reprieve from what you’re experiencing so that you can make it through each day rather than trudging and struggling.”
You can check out the resources here.