Suicide in the Elderly

The highest rates of suicide are found in people over the age of 60. With an increasingly aging population, the number of suicides among them will rise significantly. Yet there has been minimal attention paid to suicide prevention among the elderly. For 70 percent of these suicides, serious or fatal illness is a significant part of their motivation for suicide and particularly so for those who have no family or social support. Providing early treatment of depression as part of competent palliative care, together with providing social support, are key elements of suicide prevention in these patients. Without such care, patients are likely to feel they have no choice but continued suffering or a hastened death. Experts in suicide and palliative care have joined SPI and are working to reduce suicide through early, competent palliative care – psychiatric as well as medical - for seriously or terminally ill patients. We intend to develop a second project creating a treatment algorithm for elderly patients who survive near fatal suicide attempts.




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