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Seniors At Risk For Depression and Suicide


"Talented but tortured" is how some folks are describing comic actor Robin Williams.  But the idea that someone as successful as Williams would commit suicide is really no surprise to suicide prevention professionals.  For one he's in the right age group.  Merilee Keller, a suicide prevention consultant, says there's a higher rate of suicides among seniors and middle-aged Americans.

She says older adults are also more likely to be depressed about losing a loved one or a career opportunity.  "And if you think about it, one of the warning signs for suicide is loss," she explains adding, "With seniors there can be loss of their social network, there can be loss of their ability to be as active as they used to in the past."  Dr. Jim Van Norman with Austin Travis County Integral Care chimes in, "People describe it as being in a black hole, not seeing any future, no way to get out it and totally trapped."

There are successful treatments for depression out there.  Robin Williams had taken advantage of that in the past.  But he had other demons to deal with, too.  Dr. Van Norman says, "Sometimes there are lifestyle issues, If someone is drinking alcohol or using drugs and also suffering through a depression it can be a bigger challenge to treat."

If you're experiencing a psychiatric crisis and are seeking services, contact Austin Travis County Integral Care at 512-472-HELP (4357) or toll free at 844-398-8252.

By Fred Cantu

Seniors At Risk For Depression and Suicide

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