Social worker guides aging patients through some of their darkest times

Parkinson disease patient, elderly senior person in support of nursing family caregiver for disability awareness day concept senior tile social worker tile / Getty Images

Editor's note: This article is part of our series about aging and suicide. It was written with the support of a journalism fellowship from the Gerontological Society of America, Journalists Network on Generations and the Silver Century Foundation.

For decades, Jane Ellis has helped patients and families through some of their darkest times.

Ellis is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in geriatric behavioral health at Parkridge Valley Adult and Senior Campus. There, she helps provide acute inpatient stabilization for adults experiencing mood disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Although she admits her job is tough, Ellis is more focused on the positives.

She started her career working with children, but after about three years, she saw a job opening at another hospital's geriatric psychiatry unit.

"I took that job, and I just fell in love with it," she said.