Yesterday (September 10) was World Suicide Prevention Day. According to a recent article by NPR, an increasing number of older adults are attempting suicide. Suicide prevention tends to focus on young adults, but men over the age of 60 are most at risk of dying by suicide. More troubling is that age seems to matter more than gender; adults in general over age 85 are the group that is second most likely to attempt suicide, regardless of gender. As our county continues to age, this is an issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Why do older adults attempt suicide?
Older adults attempt suicide for a number of reasons, including feeling isolated or lonely, grieving the loss of someone close to them, loss of abilities, and feelings of hopelessness brought on by life transitions.
What warning signs should I look out for?
Common warning signs include communicating that they feel like a burden, suddenly changing their will, increased use of drugs and/or alcohol, stockpiling medication, changes in sleeping or eating habits, and becoming more withdrawn.
What resources are available?
University of Michigan Psychiatric 24-Hour Crisis Center (734-936-5900)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889
Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741)
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (more warning signs)
Additional resources can be found in the Ahead of the Curve resource guide under “Crisis Support” and “Mental Health”