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Featured on USA Today: Here’s Our Part
Recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) shows an alarming rise in suicide rates, reaching a 50-year high of nearly 50,000 deaths in 2022. Within this statistic, older men demonstrated the highest suicide rate – yet they are also one of the hardest demographics to reach.
Against this backdrop, Half a Sorrow’s founder, Dennis Gillan, discussed the difficulties in engaging this group in an interview with USA Today: “Older men are among the trickiest demographic to reach. Getting them in the room and speaking candidly has been one of the toughest challenges.”
Dennis also referred to the cultural expectations around masculinity that might have contributed to this phenomenon: “As men, we’re supposed to have all the answers. We’re really not good at saying, ‘I don’t have a clue what happens in life’”.
To address this challenge and raise awareness about mental health support for the elderly, Dennis highlighted his personal initiative, the “Camo Hat Club.” Established in 2018, this club brings together older men from Greenville, SC, for a monthly breakfast dedicated to building community and discussing their mental well-being.
Speaking to the reporter, Dennis shared the motivation behind forming this group, explaining, “At the conclusion of each meal, they end up with a simple question: ‘How’s everybody’s mental health?’”. Dennis said that whether they are down or feeling chipper, the most important thing is that people feel safe to open up.
Read the full article on USA Today’s website.