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Economic despair leading to death of white working class Americans

Feelings of economic desperation among middle-aged white Americans are contributing to a sharp rise in mortality rates, particularly among those with less education, two Princeton University economists say in a new study explored in the Baltimore Sun. The Sun article also quoted SSW Associate Professor Jodi Frey.

In the article: "The University of Maryland School of Social Work is using funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find ways to reduce suicide rates among middle-aged men through community outreach.

Mental illness in men often goes undetected because they don't seek medical intervention, said Jodi Jacobson Frey, an associate professor at the school of social work and lead investigator on the suicide study. They also don't necessarily show the typical signs for mental illness. A man who is depressed may express anger rather than sadness.

Frey is working in Michigan, but she hopes to apply her research in Maryland and get men to do online mental health assessments. They can be referred to care if needed. She said current research on suicide prevention focuses on teenagers even though the rates among middle aged men and women are growing.

'The research agenda is just starting to look at what is going on with this population,' Frey said. 'Once we find out why, we have to figure out what to do because traditional interventions were not designed to reach out to the middle-aged population.'"

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