Reducing the stigma of mental health for men 75 years or older
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A record number of Americans died of suicide in 2023 at a level we haven’t seen in over 80 years.
Now, a new report from the CDC says men 75 and older are at highest risk, and there’s a reason for it.
“If you think about this generation, things like mental health or mental wellness was not really discussed. And if so, it was a bad thing,” said Darrina Bledsoe EvolvedMD behavioral health therapist.
Bledsoe says it’s that stigma that prevents them from reaching out to get the help they need.
“When you have the mixture of lack of understanding, stigma and all of these negative thoughts or connotations associated to behavioral health, it makes it very difficult to take the first step in getting help,” said Bledsoe.
But we’ve come a long way, and getting help now is as easy as visiting your primary care doctor.
“The first step is scheduling an appointment with your primary care doctor, let them know that you’re interested in a mental health checkup or getting connected to a behavioral health professional,” Bledsoe said.
In many cases, family members need to be aware of the warning signs.
“Things like avoiding social activities, not being interested in things that used to be pleasurable or enjoyable, giving away personal items, neglecting one’s own health and grooming,” said Blesoe.
When they’re ready to make the call, resources are available.
“We are live at eight sites here in Albuquerque. So if you are already an established patient, awesome. If not, gone ahead and give Optum a phone call,” said Bledsoe.