Adults of all ages are at risk for suicide, and, sadly, rates are highest among the middle-aged and have been rising steadily in the past 15 years. In adults, suicidality may manifest as feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, preoccupation with death or dying, hoping one will be killed or become fatally ill, planning one’s death, writing goodbye letters or suicide notes, or procuring means. If a person has experienced chronic depression and/or suicidal ideation and suddenly appears a great deal better, this could be a warning sign that the person has decided upon a plan. As with people of all ages, any form of suicidal thinking or behavior requires immediate assessment.
The good news is that, with appropriate intervention, most adults who experience suicidality go on to experience relief. Effective treatment plans involve thorough and ongoing risk assessment and safety planning, and involve some combination of: individual therapy, family therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). The gold standard of treatment for suicidality is DBT. It is of critical importance that DBT be delivered by qualified professionals with adequate training, and include all modes of treatment.