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Social Connection is Medicine and Hope: Strategies to Reduce Social Isolation & Loneliness to Prevent Suicide in Later Life

Speaker: Kimberly Van Orden, PhD

Date: February 7th, 2024

Time: 10-11:30AM PT / 11AM-12:30PM MT / 12-1:30PM CT / 1-2:30PM ET

Social isolation and loneliness (SIL) is one of the most common characteristics among older adults who die by suicide, while social connection is protective: socially connected adults have greater than a two-fold reduction in suicide risk over the long-term. Despite the clear significance of SIL, the U.S. healthcare system has not capitalized on social connection as preventive medicine: it is not routinely assessed and there are no clear evidence-based interventions. This presentation will discuss evidence-informed strategies to assess and intervene on SIL to prevent suicide and promote health & well-being in older adults, including individual coaching, behavioral activation, volunteering, and peer companionship, as well as challenges in engaging older adults in those programs.

Learning Objectives

Learners who participate in this learning activity will be able to:

  • Describe at least two pathways (or mechanisms) whereby reducing social isolation and loneliness may reduce suicide risk in later life. 
  • Identify at least three promising strategies to reduce social isolation and loneliness in older adults. 
  • Identify at least two factors that may prevent older adults from engaging in programs to reduce social isolation and loneliness.

Please register HERE.

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