The Resilience of Our Elders -- Protecting against the 5 Ds of Suicide Risk: Interview with Heidi Bryan and Dr. Yeates Conwell | Episode 21

NOTE: This podcast aired on 10/9/18 at 10AM ET


In many societies we are predominantly youth-focused and overlook the healthcare and policy needs of our elders. This ageist perspective often leads to cultural scripts that prevent us from listening better to alleviate suffering and increase reasons for living, and ultimately help us all live well into our golden years.

In the podcast our panel includes two experts a leading researcher of geriatric psychiatry and a co-founder of United Survivors Suicide International who has tremendous experience in many national board positions leveraging the perspectives of people with lived expertise. Together they bring sound research and stories about the resilience of our elders — their life satisfaction and happiness and tactics to ward off the 5 D’s of suicide risk: Depression, Disease, Disability, Disconnection and Deadly means.

Together they passionately advocate for age-friendly health systems and communities, especially more providers with specialties in working with elders. Together let’s shift the attitude and appreciate more for the value our elders, “When we lose an older person, we lose a library.”

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About Heidi Bryan

Heidi is a suicide attempt survivor who also lost her brother to suicide. She has been working in the suicide prevention field since 1998 as an advocate, QPR Master Trainer, speaker, and author.  Heidi founded Feeling Blue Suicide Prevention Council in 1998 which is now known as Prevent Suicide Pennsylvania. She served on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Suicide Attempt Survivor Task Force, and is currently on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Consumer Survivor Committee.

About Dr. Yeates Conwell

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Yeates Conwell, M.D. is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of
Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry,where he is Director of  the UR
Medical Center¹s Office for Aging Research and Health Services and
Co-Director of the UR Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide. He
is immediate past president of the American Foundation for Suicide
Prevention and chair of its Scientific Council. Dr. Conwell received his
medical training at the University of Cincinnati and completed his
Psychiatry Residency and a Fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry at Yale
University School of Medicine.  In addition to teaching and service system
development, Dr. Conwell maintains a clinical practice with older adults
and directs an inter-disciplinary program of research in aging, mental
health services, and suicide prevention.

Show Notes

This safety planning manual for older veterans was not written specifically for the general public but is very straightforward and contains very useful info for family members, including warning signs and resources.

Additional articles on older adult suicide prevention:


Toolkit for Senior Centers developed by SAMHSA:


Toolkit for Senior Living Communities by SAMHSA:

 Mental Health America’s page on suicide prevention for older adults including a section on what Medicare covers and insurance:

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