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Suicide Prevention in Older Adults

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Suicide Prevention in Older Adults

January 19, 2022
Suicide can affect people of all ages. Did you know that in 2019, the highest suicide rates were in adults over 45? And those over 85 had the highest rate of all adults.

Why do some older adults want to take their life? “A partial answer is isolation coupled with depression,” says InnovAge Director of Chaplain Services Kelly Crabbe. Sarah Klick, behavioral healthcare manager with InnovAge Virginia PACE, agrees. “The events of the last two years have left us, as a society, more aware of the impacts of isolation, loneliness, and loss.”

Risk Factors
In addition to isolation, here are other important risk factors to consider when thinking of older loved ones.
  • Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety
  • Loss, including loss of relationships and deaths of family members or friends. It can also be the loss of independence or routine
  • Pain, physical health, or other medical conditions
Education and Prevention
“The shared experience of the pandemic has led to a more open conversation about our mental health needs. My hope is public awareness will continue to grow,” says Sarah. She advises, “The single most important thing you can do is say to your loved ones, ‘I am comfortable talking about this if you ever need to.’”

If you are concerned about an older loved one, consider talking with their primary care provider or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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