Each year more than 6,300 older adults take their own lives, nearly 18 each day.
Each year more than 6,300 older adults take their own lives, nearly 18 each day. Suicide is rarely, if ever, caused by any single event or reason. Indeed it could be the result of many factors combined to produce feelings of hopelessness and depression. Since it is seldom an impulsive act, there is an opportunity to help them get help.
Risk factors include the death of a loved one; physical illness; uncontrollable pain; fear of dying a prolonged death that damages family members emotionally and economically; social isolation and loneliness to name a few. Others at high risk include those who are depressed or those who abuse alcohol or drugs.
A suicidal person may show signs of depression, i.e., changes in eating or sleeping habits; trouble concentrating; withdrawal from family and friends; loss of interest in life; and/or loss in their personal appearance. They may seem preoccupied with death; give away prized possessions; increase use of alcohol or drugs; or acquire a weapon.
You can help with these DOs and DON’Ts: Do learn the clues to a potential suicide and take them seriously. Ask directly if he/she is thinking about suicide. (It will not cause someone to be suicidal or commit suicide). Show interest and support, be non-judgmental. Offer hope that alternatives are available. Don’t taunt or dare him/her to do it! Don’t lecture on the value of life or offer glib reassurance. Do remove easy methods that they might use to kill themselves! Seek help!
If you need help, contact the crisis line at Iroquois Center for Human Development, Inc., 620-723-2272, or toll-free, 1-888-877-0375. We also have several brochures and booklets to help you identify clues to suicide prevention. Call us at 620-723-2272 or toll-free, 1-888-877-0376, or inquire at our office at 610 East Grant Avenue, Greensburg, KS 67054.