COLUMBUS – In recognition of Sept. 8-14 as National Suicide Prevention Week, Ursel J. McElroy, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, encourages all Ohioans to connect with older friends and loved ones and become aware of resources that can prevent suicide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country, with approximately one death every 12 minutes. In Ohio, men age 75 and older have the highest rate of suicide.
“Connect with the older adults in your life,” McElroy said. “Spend some quality time with your neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family members. See how they are doing and assure them that they are not alone. Small gestures can show you care and make a difference in someone’s life.
Factors that increase the risk of suicide include hopelessness, lack of social support, loss of relationships, financial loss, substance abuse, physical illness, anxiety or other mental health disorders, history of trauma and abuse, and access to lethal means, such as firearms and medications.
“If you experience suicidal feelings, lean on your support network of family and friends, or talk to your health care provider, therapist or clergy member,” added McElroy. “If your loved one talks about suicide or behaves in a way that makes you believe he or she might attempt suicide, do not try to handle the situation alone. Get help from a trained professional as soon as possible.”
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. Ohio residents can also text “4help” to 741741 to access the Crisis Text Line.
The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services offers a suicide prevention for older adults at www.mha.ohio.gov/Families-Children-and-Adults/Suicide-Prevention .
Your area agency on aging can help you access local resources to prevent isolation and feelings of loneliness. Call 1-866-243-5678 to connect with the area agency serving your community.
Submitted by the Ohio Department of Aging.