Suicide rate for elderly a concern (Ohio)

In the U.S., people 65 or older make up 13 percent of the population but account for more than 18 percent of all suicides, according to the National Institutes of Health…

The suicide rate is likely even higher because it can be difficult for coroners to recognize “ silent suicides” such as intentional overdoses, self-starvation or deaths that look as if they could have been accidental. When the cause of death is unclear, officials might be inclined to call it something other than suicide because of the pain it might cause the family.

“There’s still a lot of stigma associated with suicide,” said Diana Kubovcik, client-services director of the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging.

While older people make fewer suicide attempts than the young, they are far more likely to die because of often-frail health, Kubovcik said. They also turn more frequently to guns.

Double suicides involving spouses or partners also occur more commonly among the elderly, she said…

The most prominent risk factor for suicide in older adults is depression, said Debra Reilly, a senior-care liaison at Dublin Springs, a 72-bed mental-health and addiction-treatment center in Dublin. Alcohol or drug abuse also can be factors.

“People sometimes assume that depression is a normal part of aging, but that’s untrue,” said Reilly, who also is a psychiatric nurse. “The good news is depression is treatable.” …

Often, suicide coincides with a doctor visit — 20 percent on the same day, 40 percent within a week, 70 percent within a month — so physicians need to look for warning signs, Reilly said.

Suicide triggers can include the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, severe or chronic pain, or a loss of physical or financial independence, said Mary Brennen-Hofmann, suicide-prevention coordinator at North Central Mental Health Services, which operates the local suicide-prevention hotline.

“A sense of purpose and dignity in life is significant,” she said. “If you feel like you’re taking up space and have nothing to offer, those feelings can be painful.” …

Ohio officials are partnering with the Jason Foundation to provide training and information to teachers, coaches, other school personnel, students and parents about suicide — the second-leading cause of death in the 15- to-24 age group. Only motor-vehicle accidents take more young lives.

While youth suicide rates are high, the sharpest increase in recent years has been among males age 45 to 54…

Suicide awareness has been a crusade for Kevin Stankiewicz, 17, a senior at Brunswick High School in Summit County, since the death of Joseph Anielski, who Stankiewicz said was like an older brother to him. He has written letters for the school newspaper and speaks frequently to teens about suicide prevention.

This summer, Stankiewicz said he attended a college summer camp where he talked to “a mind-boggling amount of other campers” who had considered or attempted suicide, including one person who had made eight attempts. “I think what it is is a lack of somebody to talk to,” he said…

2 thoughts on “Suicide rate for elderly a concern (Ohio)

  1. the problem is, those without depression and suicidal thoughts, don’t comprehend the intensity and enormity of it to the individuals attempting or completing suicide. if people really knew the depth of the suffering and the pain, it would not go as unnoticed.

    Liked by 1 person

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