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Friday, May 3, 2013 - 11:36am
Alarming new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have caught the attention of mental health professionals across the country.
Suicides are rising at a troubling rate and the largest increase is among middle-aged Americans, between the ages of 35 and 64.
The CDC has seen a 28% increase in suicides among this age group over the last 10 years.
"I think that we've seen an increase in that particular age group because we're not really really good about educating the community regarding mental health," said Rita Ruelas, the Director of the Mental Health Support Services Department for El Paso County.
Ruelas says the economic downturn, and the pressures of trying to balance a job, raise children, and care for aging parents, may be factors that lead to more stress, depression, and ultimately, suicide.
"It gives us the impression that we should be multi-tasking all the time," said Ruelas.
El Pasoans we spoke with agreed.
"Every day, life gets harder because you have to work more, make more money to pay for stuff, so yeah, I think that's the main cause, people get all stressed because it's hard," said Sergio Cabada.
"Nobody wants to slow down and take life as it comes," said Mark Rabin.
According to the CDC, historically, men have been more likely than women to commit suicide -- but suicide rates among women are also on the rise.
Ruelas encourages people to find ways to cope with stress and says it's okay to admit you're feeling overwhelmed.
"It is okay to reach out and avail yourself of the resources in the community that will provide support with you -- that we don't have to multi-task and do it all by ourselves," said Ruelas.
"I think they just need to get up, and enjoy their life, and enjoy their kids and their families, go do their job the best they can, come home, get a little exercise, maybe have a beer, and relax," said Rabin.
If you feel like you or somebody you know may need help with suicidal feelings, the Mental Health Support Services Department in El Paso urges you to contact them at (915) 775-2700 or email them at MHSS@epcounty.com