As a guy in my 40s, I was shocked to hear the suicide rates are highest in middle-age white men.

In 2017, there were an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts and 47,173 Americans died by suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. More than half of those deaths (69.67 percent) were white males.

I'd look at my friends and wonder if they are ok but I never knew how to talk about mental health and suicide. Finally I was able to learn how to start that conversation with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Talk Saves Lives Program. Read all their tips here.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

These same tips apply to talking with teenagers. Being a dad of a teenager, one of my biggest fears is missing signs that my son might be depressed or worst considering suicide. As ASFP reports, "based on the 2017 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, 7.4 percent of youth in grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt in the past 12 months."

I know that middle and high school is a major time for transition for kids and that with online bullying and other social media pressures, kids might not know where to get help. These tips gave me the tools to start a conversation with my son but also allowed me to teach him to start a conversation with his friends if he is concerned.

The biggest key to know that help is always available.

As the experts say, depression already can be isolating, so taking the time to talk about your concerns can send a strong message to the person that he or she is not alone. I'll leave you with a few thoughts from Doreen Marshall, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's vice president of programs:

In addition, I'm walking in the Out of Darkness Buffalo Walk in August — and I'd love to have you join me, either by donating to this great cause or registering to walk to. Hit the button below to check out my team and learn more.