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Michigan Sees Big Rise In Middle-Aged Suicides

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DETROIT (AP) - A government study finds Michigan is one of the states with the highest jumps in suicides among middle-aged Americans.

A Centers for Disease Control Prevention report released Thursday says the state’s suicide rate among people between 35 and 64 increased about 42 percent from 1999 to 2010. That compares with a national increase of 28 percent during the same period.

Jeff Edwards with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, says unfortunately, not enough is done about mental illness because it’s so stigmatized.

“My own mother-in-law took down photos of my son who I lost who was 12 because she was “mad at him” for what he did to this family,” said Edwards.  “And for me the importance is to talk to kids and to start educating kids because they haven’t been tainted or stigmatized yet enough to know that they shouldn’t be talking about these things, when they should.”

“Mental illness is a stigmatized illness filled with myths and misinformation. It’s the most uncomfortable of subjects that most people don’t want to talk about,” he said.  “And all we need to do is raise the dialogue and make it easier for people that are feeling bad to come forward and acknowledge that fact and realize that they need help and they need treatment as well.”

Officials say Michigan was among states in which suicides within the age group increased significantly, though others had higher jumps. For instance, Wyoming jumped 79 percent and Rhode Island saw a 69 percent spike.

The report says the results highlight the need for suicide prevention strategies dealing with mental health issues and stresses facing middle-aged Americans. Those include economic concerns, health problems and jointly caring for children and elderly parents.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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