There Was No Answer At Her Front Door - OC87 Recovery Diaries

There Was No Answer At Her Front Door


Lydia was 75 and lived alone. . .

She called a hotline twice the night she died . . .

Older adults tend to plan suicide more carefully. They are also more likely to use more lethal methods.

“Older adults die by suicide at a rate greater than any other age group. And that comes as a surprise to most people,” says therapist Bianca O’Connor McDermott, LPC, in Case Studies: A Conversation about Older Adult Suicide, a new three-part Recovery Diaries series that presents the difficult conversation around the topic of suicide among older adults. The series features commentary from mental health professionals to promote awareness about this significant public health issue.

McDermott is joined by Jennifer Haeussler-Barnhart, Montgomery County Office of Senior Services; therapist Bianca O’Connor McDermott; and Tony Salvatore, MA, from Montgomery County Emergency Service. Jennifer, Bianca and Tony comprise the Older Adult Suicide Prevention Committee of the Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Task Force.

According to the National Council on Aging, reasons the rate of suicide is higher for older adults include loneliness and isolation, depression, grief over the passing of loved ones, loss of self-sufficiency, chronic illness and pain.

Case Studies: A Conversation about Older Adult Suicide features animated stories of seniors who have attempted suicide (artfully envisioned by motion graphics designer Andrea Bitai) as a springboard for each discussion. The case studies shared here are stories taken from real life, and are used by mental health professionals in presentations to promote understanding and awareness about the issue. They present startling truths about older adult suicide, as well as raise important questions that we need to ask ourselves as we wrestle with this difficult topic. Ben’s story, featured in this video, highlights the perceived loss of independence, one of the biggest risk factors in older adult suicide.

We hope that Case Studies: A Conversation about Older Adult Suicide can serve as an awakening of the issue, an exploration that presents the scope and scale of the problem and a search for solutions. Our goal with this series is to help people all over the world who are struggling to find anything on this topic to gain access to hopeful, helpful messaging around older adult suicide.

We invite you to join the conversation and would love to know your stories, your thoughts on this topic. Please comment on this post if you feel comfortable sharing.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline outlines five action steps that you can take if you know an older adult who is thinking about suicide.

If you or someone you know may be in crisis or considering suicide, please call, text, or chat the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Gabriel Nathan | EDITOR: Glenn Holsten | DESIGN: Leah Alexandra Goldstein | SITE ORIGINATOR: Bud Clayman

Glenn is an award-winning director who loves to create compelling documentary story experiences of all lengths for screens of all sizes. He is an avid reader, studied literature in college, and his passion for stories with strong characters and interesting narratives stems from those years. His career as a visual storyteller began at WHYY (the public television station in Philadelphia) where he worked for 15 years before becoming an independent filmmaker. In addition to his PBS documentaries about arts and culture, he has directed films about justice and human rights, and now, mental health. He was emboldened to undertake his current documentary project, Hollywood Beauty Salon, a colorful feature-length documentary about surviving mental illness and finding the courage for recovery, after his transformative experience directing OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie, along with Bud Clayman and Scott Johnston.