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Utah Husband & Father Opens Up About Struggle With Depression, Loss Of Brother To Suicide

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – Middle-aged men in Utah are most at risk for suicide, according to data from the Utah Department of Health, and one Utah family still reeling from a devastating loss knows that all too well.

After the birth of their second child, Darrin Allred started feeling down.

“I just had no interest in anything. It was just like everything just shut off,” said Darrin, who lives in Saratoga Springs.

When they moved the family to Portland, Oregon, for Darrin’s new job, things got worse.

“I’d go missing during the day for a few hours and Alyson wouldn’t know where I was. Especially if I wouldn’t come home at night, that’s when she’d get worried,” he said.

Darrin’s wife, Alyson Allred, recognized there are different challenges for men.

“I’m allowed to cry. I’m allowed to say I don’t feel well, or my kids are bothering me and you would understand a lot more,” Alyson said. “I think if a man were to say that to another man, it would be like, ‘What’s the deal? Buck up.’”

In Utah, men are much more likely to die from suicide than women. Men 45-54 are at the highest risk.

According to UDOH data from 2018, men had significantly higher suicide rates in every age group. Men ages 45-54 had the highest suicide rates among males — 50 for every 100,000.

“There’s a lot of high expectations on our middle-aged population,” said Morissa Henn, community health program manager at Intermountain Healthcare. “These issues involve really complex mental health conditions and they can involve complex life crisis going on such as the loss of a job or the ending of a relationship. These are issues for which help really can make a difference and can really save a life.”

Alyson and Darrin moved back to Utah to be closer to family. They had no idea their biggest family trial was yet to come.

Darrin’s brother also suffered from depression, but no one knew the depth of Alex Allred’s despair.

“What did I miss? This cannot be true. You told me there was no way in heck you were going to do this, and you did this?” Alyson said.

Alex, who was working on his master’s degree in Colorado, died from suicide last September.

“It made me realize it doesn’t matter if you physically have people around you, you can still isolate yourself,” Darrin said.

Experts explained how to protect men in a mental health crisis and said it’s important that those around them help them get help.

“In those times where our brains are so consumed with a sense of panic and crisis we really aren’t able to think logically,” Henn said.

She encouraged loved ones to listen without judgment, affirm feelings and let him know you care.

“While it may seem unmanly to ask for help, that’s actually one of the greatest ways that you can show care for your family, Henn said. “That you can show care and concern for those around you.”

Alyson encouraged Darrin to get help and things are better now. They hang on to fond memories of Alex, wishing they could rewrite the ending of his final song.

If you or a loved one needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273 TALK, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.