Alone sees rise in calls from older people having suicidal thoughts

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A helpline for older people has seen an increase in suicidal thoughts among those who had to “cocoon” during the pandemic, a new report has found.

Alone, the organisation which supports older people, collaborated with The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) to publish a report examining loneliness and isolation among people over 70.

The report focuses on the impact of public health measures on older people who are struggling with loneliness, which has been found to negatively effect mental health.

During the pandemic, Alone saw a rise in callers reporting negative emotions, including suicidal ideation.

Physical health was also negatively affected as a result of lockdown measures, with calls indicating that many were apprehensive about attending medical appointments in case they came into contact with a carrier of the virus.

Alone CEO Sean Moynihan said the arrival of Covid-19 in Ireland emphasised existing issues while further alienating some older people.

“Loneliness and social isolation are two of the greatest health risks for older people today.

“We have seen a huge increase in loneliness among older people as a result of the isolation experienced while cocooning.”

Since March, Alone’s National Support Line has received over 27,012 calls for support while its staff and volunteers have made more than 130,149 calls to older people who needed support.



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