Older Adults More Likely to Disclose Suicidal Thoughts as They Age

October 13, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


Nearly a quarter of older adults who die by suicide disclose their intent in advance, according to a recent study. Researchers looked at national data on suicide deaths among adults ages 50 and older and found that disclosure rates increased with age. In addition to being older, people who disclosed suicidal thoughts were also more likely to suffer from chronic health problems or depression. Those who died by firearms or hanging/suffocation were less likely to disclose suicidal intent than those who used other methods. The authors suggested that these findings highlight the importance of screening for suicide risk among older adults with health issues. “Health care providers, especially primary care physicians who frequently see older adults with health problems and depression, should routinely assess suicide risk along with access to guns and other means of suicide,” said lead author Namkee Choi of the University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work.

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