Suicide rate high among older male Oklahomans

Monday, January 3rd 2005, 5:47 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ While adults over 65 are at greatest risk of suicide, the suicide rate among white men older than 80 in Oklahoma is seven times the national average, according to mental health professionals.

Depression, poverty and declining health are among the reasons that many senior Oklahomans choose to take their own lives, officials said.

``As a generation, they are not as likely to access mental health services,'' said Pam Cross, director of the Contact Crisis Center.

Older Oklahomans are more likely to ask for help with a utility bill or transportation to a doctor's appointment than call the center's hot line seeking help for depression, she said.

``They are from a generation that has been so independent and so resourceful they expect to be able to handle things without asking for help,'' Cross said.