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As Senior Suicides Skyrocket, What Are We Doing About It?

After what seems like a lifetime, we are finally beginning to emerge from the pandemic and its lockdowns, restricted contact with loved ones, and wearing masks, all activities that were aimed at keeping our most vulnerable population safe - our elderly. But in hindsight, this population may be dealing with long-term mental health issues because of these "safety factors". And in particular, an increase in the rising suicidality rate that was already present in older adults and seniors before the coronavirus.

As we move through 2022, there are forty-six million Americans aged 64 years and older that lived through the pandemic. Unfortunately, all the fearmongering on social media and misinformation spread by all sides of the debate has exacerbated pre-existing mental health issues in this group that manifested in increased episodes of depression and suicide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), before the pandemic, about 20% of those fifty-five and older were experiencing psychological and drug addiction issues and that number has undoubtedly risen.

"Adults seventy-five and older have some of the highest rates of suicide of all groups. Although they only comprise 12% of the population, they represent 18% of all suicide completions."