GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (ABC 4)- According to the National Council on Aging, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Although it’s an issue affecting people of all ages, men aged 65 and older have the highest rates. Additionally, one in four seniors succeed in their attempts, and loneliness is the leading cause of the act.  

A local non-profit organization, i understand, is changing the conversations and stigmas surrounding suicide by “offering compassionate comfort for those affected by suicide or mental/brain health illness and pain.” During an episode of AARP Michigan Real Possibilities, Vonnie Woodrick, CEO/Founder of i understand, shares the importance of connecting with the elderly and ways the community can assist in helping neighbors and loved ones diminish suicidal thoughts and actions.  

“We have to reach out. It’s all about reaching out and connecting. Think about the older people in your life. When was the last time you reached out to your grandparents, your mom or your dad? Reaching out, talking to someone, sharing yourself with them, is one of the biggest things you can do for them and their mental health,” Vonnie says. 

For more information, watch the interview featured in the video player above.