The following is a guest blog post from Jennifer Scott of Spiritfinder.org
Suicide is an issue that affects people of all ages and socioeconomic groups. Many people often think of teens when they think of at-risk populations for suicide, but the middle-aged and baby boomer populations are increasingly at risk. Issues related to finances, depression, and substance abuse are often involved in the increased risk within this group, but resources for help and prevention are available.
Reach out immediately for help if someone is considering suicide
If you or someone you care about is thinking about suicide, it is critical to reach out for help quickly. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255, and resources are available in a crisis situation via 911 or the local emergency room as well. If you are worried that someone may be in the early stages of considering suicide, reach out to a doctor or therapist to try to defuse the situation before your loved one moves forward on any potential plan.
The suicide rate among middle-aged Americans is rising at an alarming rate
The Washington Post notes that the suicide rate in the United States has risen in the past century, especially among the middle-aged. The recession that hit the country not many years ago that caused economic distress for many is believed to have had a significant impact on the suicide rate within this age group, as has the increasing rate of addiction and substance abuse.
In terms of risk factors for suicide, issues such as substance abuse, mental illness, past abuse, or having parents who had substance abuse issues or had been incarcerated can increase the likelihood of suicide. Experts also believe that the rise of the Internet and social media, and the isolation that comes as a result in many cases, plays a role in the increased suicide rate as well.
Stress related to mental health, the economy, and substance abuse are risk factors too
Health line reports that over the past few years, baby boomers have had the highest suicide rate of any age group, despite having been the group with the lowest rate in prior years. This is a generation that has faced numerous stressors that are risk factors for suicide, such as job loss, divorce, financial distress, and addiction issues.
Some experts also believe that this age group often grew up with a vision of idealism that conflicts with the reality of their life in these later years, and that disconnect between what life is versus what they expected may be causing significant distress. Do Something shares that depression is frequently present ahead of time in those who commit suicide, and the risk of a suicide in a home goes up substantially when a gun is present.
Watch for warning signs and don’t dismiss your concerns
Loved ones can have a significant impact on helping someone they care about if thoughts of suicide begin to form. Forbes says that it is key for people to be able to recognize suicidal symptoms, and if someone you love is acting in a self-destructive manner, especially if talk of self-harm is present, it is important to take action.
Additional signs that could be red flags include a person talking about being a burden to loved ones, withdrawing from family or regular activities, or acting increasingly aggressive, irritable, or anxious. Having exposure to someone else who has committed suicide can be a risk factor, and stressful life events can create a risk as well.
If you see these factors developing in someone you love, help them to reach out for support via counseling, medications, or even physical activity, as these can all have a positive impact on one’s mental health. Concerns that someone may be considering suicide should never be dismissed or brushed away, especially as the rate of suicide in baby boomers and the middle-aged generation continues to rise. This age group may be increasingly at risk, but there is help available to help those considering suicide.
[Image via Pixabay]