Suicides Among Seniors

By Charmaine Gooden

Doctors say there is a disturbing upward suicide trend for people over age 60 and it will only get worse as the baby boomers grow old. The reality is that seniors have some of the highest suicide rates in the country. It’s a shocking statistic but 10 seniors over age 60 end their lives every week in Canada, the result of depression, illness, the stress of loosing spouses, friends and independence. Some doctors now worry that those statistics will rise as the number of older adults grows in Canada and baby boomers struggle to accept the frailties of old age.  They say these tragedies can be prevented with counseling and medication.

Dr. Marnin Heisel, a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor in the Departments of Psychiatry at the University of Western Ontario, says part of the problem is that many doctors aren’t always looking for suicide risk among their older patients. And many seniors don’t realize they can seek mental health support.