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Thoughts of not wanting to live anymore, that life is not worthwhile, or actual thoughts of self-harm or suicide itself are common in people who are depressed. This is a symptom of the illness.

People having these kinds of thoughts often feel very isolated and unsupported. It is very important for family members, caregivers or friends to ask questions and help people experiencing these kinds of thoughts to communicate how they are feeling and then seek and offer help.

Encouraging communication is especially important because the risk of completed suicide is high among older adults.


Talking with someone about suicide will make them suicidal.


Untreated depression is the most common cause for suicide in older adults.

Some individuals isolate themselves so much and feel so hopeless that they don’t communicate with anyone about what they’re feeling or thinking. They may even feel:

  • Ashamed for having the thoughts
  • Fear they will be seen as weak
  • Fear they will be criticized for having the thoughts

For this reason, it is critical that anyone who is having these thoughts understand that these types of thoughts are common for someone struggling with depression – and more importantly – help is available.

  • You can be treated
  • You can feel better
  • You can recover
  • You need to ask for help

If you are having thoughts of self-harm reach out for help immediately:

  • Telephone – call a crisis line (in Canada dial 911)
  • Go to the nearest emergency room or the closest hospital
  • Speak to a family member, caregiver, friend – ask for their help.
  • Life is worth living.
  • There is always hope.
  • Help is available.
  • Talk to someone.