According to the United Health Foundation’s 2016 annual report Middle-aged adults had the highest suicide rate in 2015. Among adults aged 45 to 64 at 19.6 per 100,000 population and adults aged 85 and older had the second highest rate at 19.4 per 100,000. More than 7000 people age 65 or older died by suicide in 2013, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.
Older adults are more likely to have suicidal thoughts if they have other conditions such as: depression, mood disorders or substance abuse problems. Older adults may also be dealing with other life issues that amplify or contribute to their suicidal thoughts. Life issues could include losing their friends or loved ones, a feeling they are a burden or medical conditions that affect their ability to do the things they once could do easily. Depression is not a normal part of aging and there are things individuals can do so they can have a good quality of life.
A lot of older adults feel their depression is a sign of weakness and don’t want to admit what they are feeling. As a community we need to help break the stigma surrounding mental health by being supportive of our friends, acquaintances and loved ones and helping them seek the care they need and deserve.
Knowing the warning signs of suicide could help save a life. Some warning signs of suicide according to Missouri Department of Mental Health include:
- Talking about wanting to die or not wanting to live anymore
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Acting anxious or agitated, behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Making preparations for death
- Anyone suffering from severe and prolonged depression is at risk of attempting suicide
How can you help? If someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or making suicidal statement, call 911 and stay with the person until help is available. For those suffering with depression encourage them to seek help. New Hope Senior Behavioral Health is here to help. We accept patients 50 years and older to our inpatient unit. For more information call 573-860-1601 or 573-860-1602. Our staff are available to help 24 hours a day.