by: Jessica Schaer
JOPLIN, Mo. — As we get older, we might not be able to do things physically we used to be able to do, which can be frustrating.
And days become more lonely as family members become busy with their own lives, while friends and spouses pass away.
#Seniors coping with #mentalhealth struggles is the next part of our series the #SuicideCrisis: Prevention, Information, and Awareness.
Lizzy, Joplin Senior Resident, said, “I felt helpless and hopeless.”
Lizzy lives in Joplin and is hiding her identity due to the #stigma surrounding seniors battling #mentalhealthissues.
“You get really aggravated with yourself, you know? Like it’s my fault that I am the way I am. But it’s not.”
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
Dr. Henry D. Petry, Freeman Health Center for Geriatric Medicine Director, said, “One of the biggest things probably is looking for depression or #anxiety and #depression.”
Dr. Henry Petry says suicidal thoughts within the #senior population are more common than you might think.
“Sometimes we have family issue that are so strong, and #financial issues associated with the family issues that this will also bring on the tendency to want to commit #suicide and ‘I don’t want to deal with it anymore.’”
“There was a problem that kept going on about this family member and I was pushed to leave,” said Lizzy.
Family issues on top of frustration about being unable to physically do things like you used to. A fear of Alzheimer’s or dementia setting in. And just general #loneliness — it can all add up for people who are getting older.
Lisa Francis, Ozark Center Program Development Director, said, “The social network is really disrupted as you age, because so many changes and how you relate in the community, places that you go may have changed because maybe you don’t drive any longer.”
Dr. Henry D. Petry, Freeman Health Center for Geriatric Medicine Director, “I’ve often told people we are a herd animal. We are like buffalo. If we are all together, we do very well, but when we are separate we become a little bit distraught.”
“The family and the friends. They need to support, they really do. I stress that,” said Lizzy.
Thankfully, the community care program through Freeman Health System’s Ozark Center is fighting back.
“Help them with community resources and socialization, kind of making the connections. Reaffirming some of the things that they used to do or can get reconnected with,” said Francis.
“Psychiatric doctor. I have a therapist, or a counselor. Everybody has been wonderful,” said Lizzy.
Because our older generation needs cared for, to continue telling their stories for future generations.
“We’ve been there and done that. And now all we need is for family and friends to love.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with their #mentalhealth and needs someone to talk to, we urge you to call the #suicideprevention hotline at 1-800-273-talk.
We also have more resources for you under the #suicide crisis tab.