Suicide Among Older Adults

Decent Essays
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, older adults make up 12% of the United States population, but account for 18% of all suicide deaths. In 2002, the annual suicide rate for people over the age of 65, was over 15 per 100,000 individuals; this number increases for those age 75 to 84, with over 17 suicide deaths per every 100,000 (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2016). The rates of late-life suicide rises even higher for those over age 85. Although the statistics stated above are troubling, these numbers do not account for all suicides committed among this population. Late-life suicide is greatly under reported. Not counted are the “silent suicides” which includes death by overdose, self-starvation or dehydration, refusing medication or medical advice, and “accidents”. These deaths are not labelled as suicide even when the older adult’s intent was to die. Suicide among older Americans is an important public health problem, made all the more alarming because it can be prevented. There are ways of successfully treating or otherwise addressing the risk factors, like depression, that may be associated with this problem.…show more content…
Among older adults who die by suicide, approximately 77% visit a primary care provider within the last year of life, and 58% do so within their last month of life (Administration on Aging - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012). Because this high-risk group frequently comes into contact with clinical environments during this sensitive window of time, health care professionals are uniquely positioned to reduce the incidence of suicide among the elderly and limit self-inflicted
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