Depression, one of the conditions most commonly associated with suicide in older adults, is a widely under-recognized and undertreated medical illness. Studies show that many older adults who die by suicide — up to 75 percent — visited a physician within a month before death. These findings point to the urgency of improving detection and treatment of depression to reduce suicide risk among older adults.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you feel that life is not worth living?
  • Do you feel that your situation is hopeless?
  • How bad is it?
  • Have you ever thought of really hurting yourself?
  • Have you been thinking about killing yourself?
  • Have you made a plan?
  • What do you think you would do?
  • Have you written the note?
  • Do you have the (weapon, pills etc.) to carry it out?

If you answered yes to any of these question you may want to ask your physician about treatment for depression. Antidepressant medications or psychotherapy, or a combination of the two, can be effective treatments for late-life depression.

Source:  The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.