Depression is a serious condition, and it's especially dangerous for older adults. According to WebMD, only 1 in 10 depressed Americans who are 65 and older actually get proper medication and therapy.The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) institute reports that the 65+ age group accounted for 16% of all suicides in 2004, a disproportionate number since that age group makes up only 12% of the US population. Even more upsetting, white males in the 85+ age group had more than 4 times the suicide rate as the general population.There is hope. If found early, depression can be easily treatable. As with any other serious illness, instead of ignoring warning signs, a person possibly suffering from depression should see a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible and get the proper treatment.Do you think you or a loved one may be depressed or considering suicide? According to Barb Delker, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Owensboro, Kentucky, these are the 10 signs of suicide risk you need to be aware of:Talking about or threatening to hurt oneself.Obtaining firearms, pills, or other means of suicide.Talking about death or suicide when thats out of the ordinary for the person.Feeling hopeless, rage, anger, or revenge.Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities.Feeling trapped, like theres no way out of a situation. Seeing no reason for going on.Increased substance abuse.Withdrawing from family, friends, or the community.Feeling anxious, unable to sleep, sleeping all the time, which are symptoms of depression.Dramatic mood changes.Delker said a person should be "direct and talk openly, and be willing to listen" if someone they know is contemplating suicide.
Other tips include allowing a suicidal person to express their feelings and being nonjudgmental, showing interest and support, offering hope that there are choices and alternatives, taking action by removing any means that would facilitate suicide and getting that person help from an agency, hospital or crisis line.
Men are more apt to commit suicide than women, she said. Men are more successful in committing suicide because they typically use guns while women tend to use pills and overdose on medication or drugs.
"Depression is an underlying cause of suicide, but not everyone who commits suicide is depressed," Delker said. "Depression is very treatable, and substance abuse is very treatable.
"If somebody seeks help, suicide is preventable. I would say the vast majority of people who get help will improve their outlook and their lives."