Isolated and Struggling, Many Seniors Are Turning to Suicide

August 09, 2019

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


Loneliness, grief, and chronic health issues may contribute to increased suicide risk among older adults. Life changes linked to aging, such as loss of physical or cognitive functioning, may also increase suicide and mental health issues in older people. Experts say the warning signs of suicide in this population can include social withdrawal, increased drug and alcohol use, and expressed feelings of hopelessness or being a burden. To help support older adults’ well-being, psychologist and suicide prevention expert Julie Rickard recommends increasing their access to exercise, human connection, and medical and psychiatric treatment. “Oftentimes there’s a belief that it’s a normal part of aging for people to feel bad, or to go through loss, or to have lots of death and grief, and to just not recover from their depression, when in truth it’s very recoverable and it’s something we should be targeting,” said Rickard.

Spark Extra! Learn more about preventing suicide among older adults.