LGBTQ elders are at high risk of social isolation, loneliness and suicide

Published: Friday, September 22, 2023 - 12:04pm

September is National Suicide Prevention month, and one population sometimes overlooked are LGBTQ elders. 

Eireanne Russ is with Southern Arizona Senior pride in Tucson. Russ is trans and well aware of the risks when it comes to aging. 

"I think a bigger issue among LGBT seniors than heterosexual and cisgender seniors is that many of us have had to consider going back in the closet in order to receive assistance or in order to go seek help as we get older," she said.

That, plus other factors, including higher rates of social isolation, depression and anxiety, can lead to increased suicidal thoughts. 

Suicide attempts among the transgender community are historically at 40% or higher.

For those 65 and older, it’s likely even higher, according to the LGBTQ-elder advocacy group SAGE. 

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, there is help. Contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 (en Español, llame al 988, prensa 2; for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, dial 711 then 988). You may also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
Aging Gender Health + Medicine