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Every 80 Minutes...

One elderly person committed suicide every 80 minutes in 20121. That’s more than 18 suicides a day for people 65 and older1. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and it can be easy to overlook the elderly when watching for the warning signs. Older adults attempt suicide less often than younger people, but they have a higher completion rate1.

Although there a lot of risk factors for suicide, some of them can be more common for the elderly:

  • The recent death of a loved one
  • Physical illness
  • Uncontrollable pain or the fear of a prolonged illness
  • Perceived poor health
  • Social isolation and loneliness
  • Major changes in social roles (e.g. retirement)

In addition to risk factors, there are suicide warning signs, IS PATH WARM2, to watch out for: 

  • Ideation 
  • Substance Abuse
  • Purposelessness 
  • Anxiety 
  • Trapped 
  • Hopelessness
  • Withdrawal
  • Anger 
  • Recklessness 
  • Mood Changes

HealthInsight is working with primary care practices and inpatient psychiatric facilities to improve behavioral health for older adults. Join us on Wednesday, September 14 for an educational webinar on Behavioral Health Referrals and Community Resources.

Sources: 

  1. Elderly Suicide Fact Sheet | American Association of Suicidology. Web. 08 Sept. 2016. http://www.suicidology.org/Portals/14/docs/Resources/FactSheets/Elderly2012.pdf
  2. Know the Warning Signs of Suicide| American Association of Suicidology. Web. 08 Sept. 2016. http://www.suicidology.org/resources/warning-signs
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