Josephine Ridley, Stephanie Gomez, Silvia HernandezVA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System, Case Western Reserve University, , USA
Title: An examination of the potential impact of COVID-19 on depression and suicide risk in older adults
COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to skyrocket across the world, leaving a trail of enduring psychological turmoil. It wreaks havoc on the physical, emotional, and cognitive health of those directly infected, as well as caretakers, friends, and families. Though the pandemic has at least indirectly impacted most people, older adults appear to be the most vulnerable to COVID-19-related deaths and little is known about the pandemic-related psychological consequences. Unfortunately, many of the precautions taken to minimize infections may have inadvertent negative consequences among older adults. Most recently, researchers have highlighted the need to focus both on preventing the illness and preventing the potential deleterious psychological sequelae of trying to survive a pandemic. In this presentation, past pandemics are examined to hypothesize the likely long-term effects that COVID-19 may have on depression and suicide risk in older adults and to provide guidance on strategies to mitigate the potential negative outcomes.
Josephine Ridley received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from West Virginia University. She is the Assistant Chief of Psychology at the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System and Adjunct Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University. She conducts research and has published in the areas of suicide and depression and is a MasterTrainer for the Zero Suicide Institute’s Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk Workshop.