Warning Signs of Suicide in Older Adults
British Columbia Specific Information
Emotional support, information and resources specific to mental health are available from Mental Health Support offered by the Crisis Lines Association of British Columbia by calling 310-6789. You may also visit BC Mental Health & Addiction Services or HereToHelp for additional resources and services. Children and teens can also call the Kids Help Phone to speak to a counsellor at 1-800-668-6868 or visit Kids Help Phone for information on the resources and support available.
Suicide assessment and intervention are available from Crisis Lines across British Columbia by calling the Crisis Line Association of British Columbia at 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE). For more places to get help, visit Crisis Centre – Get Help. If you are in an emergency, call 9-1-1.
Suicide rates increase with age and are highest among white men age 65 and older. Divorced and widowed men in this age group have the highest suicide rates, and their most common method of suicide is firearms.
The following warning signs may be present in older adults who have a high risk for suicide:
- Depression. Older adults have higher rates of depression than the general population.
- Other mental health problem, such as severe anxiety, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), or schizophrenia
- Alcohol or substance use
- Being alone for long periods of time (social isolation)
- Being preoccupied with death in conversations
- The diagnosis of a serious physical illness
- Recent life change, such as the death or chronic illness of a spouse or child, retirement, or financial problems
- Physical disabilities
Drug Advisory. The Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB) of Health Canada has issued:
- An advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of suicide. The HPFB does not recommend that people stop using these medicines, but to watch for warning signs of suicide in those using them. This is especially important at the beginning of treatment or when doses are changed.
Take any mention of suicide seriously. If someone you know is threatening suicide, get help right away and learn more about Suicidal Thoughts or Threats.
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of: November 20, 2015
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