Nationally, the suicide rate for middle aged men is climbing.
And it is here too.
In La Crosse County, in 2005, 8 people committed suicide, only two were female.
In 2006, 14 people committed suicide; just one of those was a woman.
And nearly all of those men who committed suicide in both years were middle-aged men.
So why the alarming statistics?
In the first part of a three part series, we explore mid-life male suicides.
Hereâ€™s the story of a man who ended his life at 39.
"He went for a walk and my brother though it was strange because he usually always took his dog with him but he didn't take his dog with him on this walk. He didn't come back, and my brother, obviously feared the worst," says Roger Pedretti, Robertâ€™s older brother.â€
On that February day four years ago Robert Pedretti ended his life with a blast from his shotgun.
He became one of a growing number of middle aged men, committing suicide.
It came as a shock to his family.
"I don't think you can describe how bad that is or how terrible that is."
His younger brother spent the majority of his adult life in Colorado, living his passions: Hunting mountain lions, taking care of his dogs, and a world champion at pack burro racing.
"I would call him the greatest outdoorsmen."
But one day nearing his 40's he gave it all up, went to chiropractic school, and after a semester moved home to Wisconsin.
"I was around him all the time and despite reading afterwards the degree to which he was suffering he, I think tried as much as he possibly could to look like his normal self.â€
But inside, Robert was dealing with a job change, depression, and health problems.
"I didn't know his eyes were burning to the extent because of Lasik eye surgery or his ears were ringing."
Therapist, Dr. Joel Rooney says that combination, for a man, at that age can be lethal.
"They're also less likely to seek out support," says the therapist.
Rooney says, those issues, men deal with differently than women.
"They're more likely to repress that they're also more likely to have solution focused personalities, which say if you want something done right, you got to do it right. Which means you're going to use a more lethal means," says Dr. Rooney.
Now his family has his memories, and his writings, which have given them insight into his suffering.
"He said it was like a cancer, like a terminal illness that you just couldn't get through and the pain was too much to overcome it he couldn't live that way anymore," says his brother.
Now, his brother, Roger is living, and celebrating his memory.
Every year, he participates in the pack burro race, as a tribute to his brother, Robert Pedretti.
Robert was never married and didn't have any children.
If you feel depressed or suicidal, here are two numbers that you can call for help.
You can call the Great Rivers 24 hour Crisis Line at 2-1-1.
Or, you can call the La Crosse County Crisis Line at 784-HELP.
The second part of our series focuses on the diagnosis of depression.
Here are some helpful websites about suicide and getting help:
Suicide Prevention Resource Center- www.wprc.org
Suicide Awareness/Voices of Education- www.save.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention- www.afsp.org
American Association of Suicidology- www.suicidology.org
La Crosse Area Suicide Prevention Initiative- www.lacrossesuicideprevention.org
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