Men and suicide: Retirement can lead to depression risk

State encourages men to seek support

ARVADA, Colo. -- Baby boomers and retirement don’t always mix. An Arvada man would like to see that phrase on a billboard, saying he became so depressed in retirement, he nearly ended his life.

Glenn Howard, 66, says within a year of leaving his career, he had checked off his to do list. That's when he began to feel like he no longer had a purpose in life.

He never had any mental health challenges in the past, but in retirement he became more and more depressed.

"It's interesting my wife didn’t notice it, she didn’t notice I was depressed. I only saved myself because i told her. I told her I was thinking about killing myself, and she said well we have to get you help," Howard recalls.

Glenn is not alone. Many older men battle depression and suicidal thoughts.

"The highest rates and the highest numbers we see here in Colorado and across the country are for older adult males particularly," says Sarah Brummett with the state office of suicide prevention.

That's why the agency has programs targeting men. A website, mantherapy.org has resources.

Glenn Howard sought treatment through counseling and medication. But he credits the biggest change in his mood to volunteering at the same place where he got help, West Pines Behavioral Health. He now gives orientations and helps others battling similar demons.

"I get up, I get dressed, I go to work. It keeps my mind busy, and I have a purpose and I feel like I have a future."

Several agencies recently launched a campaign, "Let's Talk Colorado," to encourage more openness about mental health issues.

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