Middle-aged white men have the highest suicide rate in the country

Sinclair Broadcast Group

Middle-aged white men have the highest suicide rate in the country, and between 2000 to 2016, there was a 21 percent increase in suicides among boys and men, according to the American Psychological Association.

Despite the chaos you see on the track, professional race car driver Justin Peck describes racing as being like medicine.

"The second I take my helmet and put over my face, it’s like the world stops all the chaos, negativity, junk, whatever, goes away,” says Peck.

Peck has bipolar disorder. He experiences intense highs and lows-- including a very low point years ago.

"I found myself driving up a canyon I’d been to several times to unplug from world,” he recalls. "I grabbed my pistol, loaded it, put it to my head and I pulled the trigger. I just heard this loud click."

"I have shot thousands of rounds through this pistol and it's never misfired, and the one time it misfires, it saves my life," he remembers.

He immediately called his doctor to get help--- something he'd hesitated to do before that moment.

"I was quiet for so many years because it was an ego thing- I had a mental illness, so that must mean I’m weak.”

Paul Gionfriddo, president of Mental Health America, says that many men have that same concern.

"Men have been taught to tough it out when they’re having problems and as a result, they sometimes try to tough it out for too long," says Gianfriddo.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men died by suicide 3-and-a-half times more often than women. And accounted for nearly 70 percent of suicide deaths, in 2017.

Peck says he still struggles every day but that his friends, family and doctor help him through.

He stresses that men thinking about suicide need to get help now, before it’s too late.

"Take your pride, take your ego, and throw them in the damn garbage can," said Peck.

And through his memoir, called “Bulletproof,” and a new partnership with Mental Health America, Peck hopes sharing his darkest moment will serve as a wake-up call to others.

"If I can save a life, if I can save one person from going up a canyon, it’s worth it, it’s worth it," he said.

If you think you or a loved one may need help, Mental Health America has a free screening tool that can help point you in the right direction.

Click here for more information.