Fighting an Increasing Suicide Rate Among Seniors

August 12, 2013 - Paul Downey

Seniors have a higher suicide rate compared to other age groups. Recent studies have shown that rates have increased from 1999 to 2010. According to a May 2013 report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate has increased 50 percent for men in their 50s. The number is even greater for women between the ages of 60 to 64, where suicides have increased 60 percent.

IMG_2055The reasons seniors are more vulnerable to suicide include: loneliness, illness, financial hardships as well as a lack of purpose. These reasons contribute to a major risk factor for suicide: Depression. Forming friendships and staying involved in social settings are crucial to prevent depression that could lead to suicide.

Picture to the right: Seniors at Senior Community Centers are socializing and new friendships could be the reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Here is a list of tips and resources that help combat depression:

  1. It is crucial that seniors stay active both physically and mentally. There are many options and resources available for seniors. Whether it’s joining a club, taking a fitness class, volunteering or socializing with other seniors; staying involved and active is key to lowering the risk of depression and suicide.
  2. Senior Community Centers offers services to help those seniors who are struggling. Along with congregate meal sites, Senior Community Centers offers classes to promote lifelong learning and health services. We have a case management team available to guide seniors who need referrals to get the assistance they need. Over the years, working collaboratively with other social service agencies in the region, we have developed strong relationships so we are able to properly refer and ultimately provide a lifeline for at-risk seniors.
  3. Ask for help. If you or someone you know finds themselves in a predicament where additional resources or a friendly voice to talk to are needed, please contact Carlos Ochoa-Mendez at Senior Community Centers at 619-487-0719. However, if you or someone you care about needs immediate help, call the San Diego County Crisis Hotline at 888-724-7240.

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The full article appeared in the Prime Monthly Magazine July 2013 Issue.

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