According to the National Center for Health Statistics, men aged 75 and over yield the highest rates of suicide in the U.S.
Counseling alone is a challenge in reaching this group. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), "older adults do not usually seek treatment for mental health problems. As such, family and friends can play an important role in prevention."
To insure your loved one has the support they need, assess the members of the senior’s support circle, whether family, friends, professional colleagues, physicians or members of their community.
Together, this group can take a protective and proactive steps by addressing areas of decline and the potential harms with this network of allies. “Taking action to help can include getting the word out...breaking what could be called a fatal secret,” says the AAMFT.
While the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) cites that “over 70% of older patients who die by suicide visit their primary care physician within a month of their death. Most of these clients are not diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and do not seek mental health services.”
A study cited by the AAMFT reports that with therapy and removing access to immediate threats of harm (ex. firearms), more than 80% of geriatric patients recovered from depression -- significantly reducing the risk of suicide.