Elderly Have Highest Suicide Rates - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Elderly Have Highest Suicide Rates

The elderly have a higher suicide rates than any other age group in the U.S. and those rates are only expected to climb higher as Baby Boomers age.

Around the nation, eleven people out of 100,000 will commit suicide.  But for people 65 and older, that rate climbs to 14 people out of 100,000.

90% of the people who commit suicide have a mental illness, a substance abuse problem, or both.  And that's no different for the elderly.  Mental health professionals say depression is the number one reason seniors commit suicide.

Anna Isom of Texas Panhandle MHMR says, "many people assume that depression is just a natural part of aging, and that 's not the case."

That's why the warning signs are sometimes hard to catch.  Because symptoms of depression can be mistaken for another illness. 

Mental health professionals say the elderly often try to hide their symptoms.  Because they don't want to be a burden.

Symptoms of depression that can seem like signs of another illness include fatigue, change in weight and appetite, headaches and insomnia.

Tell-tale signs of someone contemplating suicide are outright comments regarding suicide, giving away prized possessions, getting their affairs in order and so on.

Mental health professionals say if you think your loved one is thinking about suicide, ask him or her directly about it.

Crisis Hotline Numbers:

Amarillo Area Crisis Line: (806) 359-6699

Texas Toll Free Crisis Line: 1-800-692-4039

Partial Hospitalization Program: (806) 353-2822

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