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October 15, 1986 - Image 12

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-15
Note:
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A Will to Live
continued
opportunity for employment and an in-
creased rate of divorce among their
parents.
The forgotten majority
Those in the age group of 15-24 aren't
the only ones killing themselves. In fact,
about 10,000 people over the age of 60
commit suicide every year. That's nearly
double the suicides of teens and young
adults. But you don't read about that
very often. They are the forgotten
majority.
The suicide rate among seniors is
nearly 20 per 100,000, more than 50 per-
cent higher than the national average of
all suicides. After a post-World War II de-
cline in the number of senior suicides,
that number is again increasing.
You may think the majority of seniors
committing suicide are doing so to save
themselves the pain of a slow death due
to a terminal illness, but that isn't the
case. Most senior suicides occur because
of depression and are not linked with
terminal illness.
Some factors that have been cited for
the high number of suicides among sen-
iors, especially males, is the loss of sta-
tus and self esteem following
retirement.
"The majority of our patients have
the diagnosis of depression," says Tom
Bissonnette, clinical nurse manager of
Mercywood Health Building's Older

Adult Service. "Many older adults enter-
ing a 'season of loss' have a difficult time
dealing with those losses. Some of those
losses may include work, family mem-
bers and friends."
According to Bissonnette, the inter-
disciplinary team treating seniors at
Mercywood concentrates heavily on
post-discharge planning. It's very
important for the seniors to know
where they're going when they leave
Mercywood, Bissonnette says.
"There are a lot of senior support
groups in this area," he says. "We show
them where they can volunteer, where
they can help out in the community
After all, these folks are survivors.
They've lived through the Great Depres-
sion and World War II. We try to increase
their self esteem. It's important for them
to know they still have a lot to offer"
Bissonnette points out that the new
Mercywood Health Building opening on
the Catherine McAuley Health Center
campus will improve the treatment
of older adults with mental health
problems.
"We are really looking forward to the
new facility," he says. "The older adult
unit is particularly fashioned for care of
seniors right down to handrails in the
halls and a special bathtub. In fact, the
entire building is a mentally healthy en-
vironment with its increase in natural
lighting."
Surviving
The predominant question for the
survivors following a suicide is "Why?"

Callahan says that question, while always
asked, is not always answered. Unlike
other deaths, suicide brings with it an
incredible amount of guilt for the loved
ones of the victim.
"The major task of survivors is to an-
swer the question of 'why,' yet very often
there is no answer to that question,"
Callahan sa's. "Sometimes the answer
that is reached isn't satisfying for those
involved.
"It's perhaps the worst for parents of
suicidal teens because generally they're
no different than any other parents, yet
'Why me?' becomes the focus. It does
seem that those who are able to satisfac-
torily answer that question are best able
to cope with the experience."
The Health Center is sponsoring a
lecture series at the Mercwood Health
Building on depression and suicide. On
Oct. 15, Catherine McAulev Health Cen-
ter Psychiatrist Charles Krasnow, MD,
will discuss adolescent depression. The
lecture starts at 7 p.m. and is free. For
more information, please call 572-4000.
Callahan also runs a support group
for survivors of suicide. For more infor-
mation on the support group please call
663-3042. Outpatient treatment for de-
pression and other emotional problems
is also available from Mercvwood Mental
Health Services at the same number. s.
-Scott Adler

5
5
5
5
6
10
13
20
24
24
25
26

Hypertension screening
Alzheimer's support group
Intro to BE TRIM!
Volunteering at CMHC-
informational meeting
Intro to PERSONAL STRESS
MANAGEMENT
Hypertension screening
Volunteering at CMHC-
informational meeting
Hypertension screening
Hypertension screening
Health risk appraisals
Cardiac spouse support group
BREAST-FEEDING CLASS

Maple Health Building
Arbor Health Building
SJMH Education Center
SJMH Education Center
SJMH Education Center
SJMH Lobby
SJMH Education Center
Reichert Health Building
Arbor Health Building
Arbor Health Building
Arbor Health Building
SJMH Education Center
Arbor Health Building
Maple Health Building
Arbor Health Building
SJMH Lobby
Reichert Health Building
Reichert Health Building
Reichert Health Building
Arbor Health Building
Arbor Health Building
Arbor Health Building

8 a.m.- noon
1-3 p.m.
7-8:30 p.m.
10-11 a.m.
7-8:30 p.m.
4-8 p.m.
7-8 p.m.
1-3 p.m.
1-5 p.m.
1-5 p.m.
7-9 p.m.
7:30-9 p.m.
(Call 572-3675
to pre-register)
7-9 p.m.
8 a.m.- noon
1-3 p.m.
4-8 p.m.
1-3 p.m.
1-3 p.m.
1-3 p.m.
7-9 p.m.
1-5 p.m.
1-5 p.m.

1 Alzheimer's support group
3 Hypertension screening
3 Alzheimer's support group
8 Hypertension screening
18 Hypertension screening
18 Glaucoma screening
18 Hearing screening
23 Cardiac spouse support group
29 Hypertension screening
29 Health risk appraisals

Suicide and the Teenage Years
Number of deaths
1,800
1,600
1,400
1,200 1,123
1,000
800
600 475
400
200
0
1960 1970 1980
Year
Among American teenagers between ages 15 and 19,
death by suicide has increased dramatically in the
past three decades.

3-

Completions

2.5 4

2-

5
6
6
7
7

Intro to SMOKE STOPPERS
Alzheimer's support group
Intro to BE TRIM!
Intro to SMOKE STOPPERS
Hypertension screening
Alzheimer's support group
Intro to BE TRIM!

1.s -

SJMH Education Center
Arbor Health Building
SJMH Education Center
SJMH Education Center
Maple Health Building
Arbor Health Building
SJMH Education Center
SJMH Lobby
Reichert Health Building
Arbor Health Building
Arbor Health Building
SJMH Education Center

0.5

7-8:30 p.m.
7-9 p.m.
7-8:30 p.m.
7-8:30 p.m.
8 a.m.- noon
1-3 p.m.
7-8:30 p.m.
4-8 p.m.
1-3 p.m.
1-5 p.m.
7-9 p.m.
7:30-9 p.m.
(Call 572-3675
to pre-register.)

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12 Hypertension screening
15 Hypertension screening
26 Hypertension screening
27 Cardiac spouse support group
28 BREAST-FEEDING CLASS

Although women outnumber men in suicide attempts,
men complete suicides morefrequently. Statistically,
the ratio is identical: three to one.

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