Back to all posts

Suicide Among Seniors on the Rise

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increased use of drugs and/or alcohol, stockpiling medication, changes in sleeping or eating habits, and becoming more withdrawn.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? 

Michigan Medicine Psychiatric Emergency Services 24 Hour Crisis Center (734-996-4747) 

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” 

Check out our online training

Are you Ahead of the Curve? Take our short training any time to learn more about ways to support older adults in your family or community. You’ll learn to identify when someone might need more help and which resources are available for support.

Explore the Washtenaw County Senior Resource Directory

Our easy to use and regularly updated resource directory is a one-stop guide to older adult services in Washtenaw County.