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at other times in a case. In fact, mental health must be on the radar screen of all the healthcare team throughout all cases managed. Depression is prevalent with injuries and illnesses of all types.

Suicide Assessment

As discussed previously, suicide is now the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. Many who commit suicide never seek professional help.76 The rate of suicide is highest among older adults compared to any other age group

  • and the suicide rate for persons 85 years and older is the highest of all —

twice the overall national rate.77

Social support assessment is critical because suicide rates among older adults are highest for those who are divorced or widowed.78 Risk factors for suicide among older adults differ from those among the young. In addition to a higher prevalence of depression, older adults are more socially isolated and more frequently use highly lethal methods. They also make fewer attempts per completed suicide, have a higher-male-to-female ratio than other groups, have often visited a healthcare provider before their suicide, and have more physical illnesses.78

The following list indicates suicide assessment and warning signs. It is important to note that in order to complete a full social assessment for the individual with depression, a suicide assessment is paramount.

Suicide Assessment and Warning Signs79

  • Appearing depressed or sad most of the time. (Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.)

  • Feeling hopeless.

  • Expressing hopelessness.

  • Withdrawing from family and friends.

  • Sleeping too much or too little.

  • Feeling tired most of the time.

  • Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight.

  • Making statements such as these:

    • “I can’t go on any longer.”

    • “I hate this life.”

    • “There’s no point to this stupid life.”

    • “Everyone would be better off without me.”

    • “Life is not worth living.”

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