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Suicide in adults 60 and older


Everyone has bad days and growing older can come with difficult challenges. These challenges could lead to feelings of sadness or shame or lead to other warning signs (see below). If these feelings disrupt your life or go on for too long, it might be a sign that there is a bigger problem. This is especially true for older adults, who can be at higher risk of suicide.​

Suicide prevention: Benjamin's story

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​​​​Know the warning signs

Feeling depressed and isolated is not the only sign that something is wrong. There may be other signs that you need help. These include:

  • Trouble coping with physical changes, such as sleep, energy level or appetite changes.
  • Unbearable chronic pain.

  • Thinking life is not worth living.
  • Thinking about hurting yourself or having suicidal thoughts.
  • Thinking others are better off without you.

  • Feeling isolated from others who understand you.
  • Feeling inadequate.
  • Feeling like a burden to others.
  • Feeling abandoned or betrayed.
  • Feeling ashamed of who you are.
  • Feeling hopeless, desperate, or trapped.
  • Having no sense of purpose.
  • Having sudden mood changes.

  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Doing careless things that put you in danger.
  • Putting affairs in order.
  • Increasing drug or alcohol use.
  • Withdrawing and spending most of your time alone.
  • Purchasing a firearm or other weapon.

  • Financial stress.
  • General anxiety, e.g. about your and your family’s health and wellbeing.
  • Chronic or terminal illness.
  • Death or suicide of a loved one.
  • Conflict with your family or community support system.
  • Exposure to trauma, such as abuse or bullying.
  • Being treated unfairly because of who you are.
  • Not having others who understand you.
  • Failure to meet expectations.
  • Trouble adjusting to a new culture.​

What to do:

Talk to your doctor or any other health care or mental health professional, such as a nurse, therapist or counselor. Do not be afraid to tell them what you are feeling and let them know what has changed. They can help you pinpoint problems and discuss treatment options.

Friends and family members may have noticed a change that you cannot see. Share your feelings and listen to what they have to say. Faith leaders or spiritual advisors can also be a good place to start.

If you belong to a community organization, support group, or participate in any other community-based programs, talk to a fellow member, staff person, or volunteer about support or resources.


Contact one of the mental health and suicide prevention services listed below to speak with an experienced professional. Asking for help is a sign of strength.


When someone is showing warning signs or struggling with thoughts of suicide, even as you seek help, it’s important to keep the immediate surroundings safe. Clear away any potentially lethal items from your household; these include firearms, medications, knives and scissors, and any items that could be used as ligatures (e.g. belts, ropes, shoelaces). You can find more ways to keep someone safe in Suicide by Ligature: A Caregivers Support Guide.

Firearms can be temporarily stored outside of the home. The resources below include different firearm safety options to protect you and your loved ones, or you can consult the 11 Commandments of Gun Safety​.

Resources to help:

Santa Clara County Suicide and Crisis Hotline
Dial 9-8-8
Trained volunteer counselors available 24/7
Free and confidential

Crisis Text Line Number
Text RENEW to 741741
Trained volunteer counselors available by text message 24/7
Free and confidential

Veterans’ Crisis Line
1-800-273-8255; press 1
1-800-799-4889, for deaf and hard of hearing
Text any message to 838255
Connect with qualified, caring VA responders 24/7
Free and confidential

LGBT National Senior Hotline
Monday- Friday 1pm to 9pm, Saturday 9am to 2pm
Telephone peer support, information and local resources.

SAGE National LGBT Elder Hotline
1-877-360-LGBT (5428)
24 hours, 7 days a week
You can request to speak with someone in English or Spanish. Talk with friendly responders who are ready to listen. If you are an LGBT elder or care for one, call the free SAGE Hotline.​

The Friendship Line – Institute on Aging 
Free, 24-hour accredited crisis intervention hotline and a warmline for non-emergency emotional support calls.

Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services Call Center
For more information about all Santa Clara County behavioral health programs, or to see if you qualify.

Main Office​
3100 De La Cruz Blvd, Suite 310, Santa Clara
South County Office
16340 Monterey Road, Morgan Hill
Speak with a Health Insurance Counselor for details about your Medicare choices. Counseling sessions are free​.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
Phone: 408-453-0400
Address: 1150 South Bascom Ave., Suite 24, San Jose, CA 95128
The nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Make the Connection
Online resource for veterans to hear stories of recovery and access resources.

Santa Clara County Survivors of Suicide (SOS) Support Group
Phone: 408-885-6216
Address: 871 Enborg Court, San Jose, CA 95128
Support for those who have lost someone to suicide.

The clinic provides screening, assessment, crisis intervention, referral and short-term treatment to adolescents and adults experiencing a behavioral health crisis and need immediate help, regardless of insurance or immigration status.

Phone: 408-885-7855
Address: 2221 Enborg Lane, San Jose, CA 95128
Hour: Open every day from 8:00 am - 10:00 pm

Speak with a clinician to who can screen and assess mental health or suicide crisis situations over the phone and intervene wherever the crisis is occurring.

Dial 9-8-8
Open 24-hours, 7 days a week

If calling 911 for a mental health-related emergency, request a police officer with Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training.​


LGBTQ Wellness
Phone: 408-343-7944
Address: 452 S. 1st Street, San Jose
Access peer-based social, emotional, and mental health support for LGBTQ+ adults in Santa Clara County.

Billy DeFrank Lesbian & Gay Community Center
Phone: 408-293-3040
Address: 938 The Alameda, San Jose, CA​
Provides community, leadership, advocacy, services and support to the Silicon Valley’s LGBTQ People and their Allies.​

More LGBTQ County resources available at