The suicide rate among older adults is higher overall than at other points in the life course and poses particular challenges for prevention. Older adults take their own lives with high lethality of intent and utilize firearms more often than younger age groups. Suicide attempts are also less frequent and older adults less often express suicidal ideation than younger adults. While interventions must be aggressive in the actively suicidal older person, the lethality of suicidal behavior in older adults underscores the need for relatively greater emphasis on upstream preventive interventions.
In addition to access to deadly means, risk factors for completed suicide in later life can be characterized as “the 5 Ds”: demographic characteristics (male, older, unmarried), depression, disease (physical illness), disablement, and disconnectedness. Because older adults who take their own lives are more likely to be seen in primary care than mental health care settings, primary care-based integrated care models hold promise for reducing suicide in this age group. Social disconnectedness, which is made worse by the “social distancing” required by the coronavirus pandemic, is also a modifiable state for which community-based services and supports should be mobilized.
At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will understand the scope of the problem of suicide in older adults, factors that place older people at increased risk for suicide, and evidence for effective approaches to its prevention.
Sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 1:00pm to 2:00pmVirtual Event