Studies: Suicidal Thoughts Heightened During Pandemic

Posted on 01/26/21 by Patti Shea

The pandemic has pushed millions of older adults into isolation, which has heightened thoughts of suicide for this already stressed population that consists of veterans, unpaid family caregivers and front-line workers.

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19 among U.S. older adults. Younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers also report having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation. 

Nearly 31 percent of unpaid family caregivers report seriously considering suicide in the preceding 30 days, compared with the 11 percent of the other adults taking the survey who were not caregivers. Veterans continue to be more at risk of committing suicide than the rest of the U.S. population, and more former service members ages 55 to 74 are taking their own lives than in any other age group, according to new data from the Department of Veterans Affairs

In Florida, the suicide rate is 14.5 deaths per 100,000 population in 2019. This rate ranks 29th in the nation, according to the CDC.

If you or anyone you know needs help, please use or share one of these resources with your loved one:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • The Veterans Crisis Line can be reached at 800-273-8255 and is available to anyone even if not registered with the VA. It is also accessible by text at 838255. Deaf or hearing-impaired veterans can call 800-799-4889.
  • AMVETS has a toll-free number staffed by professional nurses from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET every day — 833-VET-HEAL (833-838-4325) — where veterans can get assistance with finding mental health and many other services.

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Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

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