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Local Public Health

Why Middle-Aged Men Are Highest Risk For Suicide, And What UC Davis Is Trying To Do About It


Middle-aged men are at the highest risk for suicide, but experts say they’re also the least likely to talk to their doctors about it.

UC Davis Health is working on something that could change that. CapRadio’s Sammy Caiola has more.

When Dr. Anthony Jerant started designing videos for men struggling with suicidal thoughts, he says he had to frame it a certain way  … because of that old trope that men don’t like asking for help.

“It’s an extension of the fact that men never ask for directions.… they’re a little less inclined, they tend to try to figure things out, to a fault.”

So the videos feature actors talking about that struggle.

“I’m a very private person in general. I don’t like anyone knowing my personal business, whatever it is. So I felt embarrassed even just thinking about these possible results of telling my doctor what I’ve been thinking.”

Jerant wants to know if watching these before a regular doctor’s appointment will make men more likely to bring it up with their physician.

Nationally, about 80 percent of suicide deaths occur in white men.

“When they look back at people who actually do kill themselves, about 50 percent had seen a primary care provider within the month prior to do doing so.”

He’s showing the videos in a clinical trial. If he can prove it works, this tool could roll out in the waiting rooms of clinics and doctor’s offices throughout the region.

[TAG]: If you're thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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