Zomer spreads awareness

Jennifer Zomer

HAWARDEN—September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month and Hawarden Regional Healthcare’s Senior Life Solutions program is working to raise awareness. 

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an average of 129 deaths by suicide occur per day and there are an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts per year. Talk of suicide should never be dismissed. If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

HRH’s Senior Life Solutions is an intensive outpatient group therapy program designed to meet the unique needs of older adults suffering from symptoms of anxiety and depression often related to aging. The Senior Life Solutions program staff is trained in the use of standardized, evidence-based tools for screening patients at risk of suicide. In addition, the staff assists the patient to create a plan to prevent future suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts.

Following an individual assessment, patients meet up to three times per week in a supportive, encouraging group setting. The program staff includes a board-certified psychiatrist, licensed social workers, a registered nurse and other health care professionals dedicated to the emotional well-being of the seniors in our community.

“There is a stigma associated with mental illness, which often inhibits people from getting the help they need,” said Jennifer Zomer with HRH Senior Life Solutions. “Our goal is to bridge this gap and provide resources to improve quality of life. We do not want anyone to suffer in silence.”

 Patients may benefit from the Senior Life Solutions program if they recently experienced a traumatic event, are grieving the loss of a loved one, have experienced changes in sleep, appetite, or mood, or have lost interest in previously enjoyed activities. 

Referrals to the program can be made by anyone, including a patient’s physician, family member, self-referral or another health care professional.

For more information, call the HRH’s Senior Life Solutions program at 712-551-3444.