The potential public health relevance of social isolation and loneliness: Prevalence, epidemiology, and risk factors

Our social relationships are widely considered crucial to emotional well-being; however, the possibility that social connection may be a biological need, vital to physical well-being and even survival, is commonly unrecognized. Still, extreme examples clearly illustrate infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die (UNICEF, 1997), and social isolation […]

The effect of suicide severity and patient’s age on mental health professionals’ willingness to treat: The moderating effect of ageism

Understanding mental health professionals’ (MHPs) willingness to treat suicidal older adults is critical in preventative psychotherapy. We examined the effect of a hypothetical patient’s age and suicide severity on MHPs’ willingness to treat or refer them to another therapist. Vignettes of hypothetical patients were presented to 368 MHPs aged 24-72 years. The vignettes had two […]

Recent trends and developments in suicide prevention for older adults

KEY POINTS Suicide rates peak in late life yet few suicide prevention interventions have been adequately evaluated and found effective. Training of clinicians and gatekeepers, brief psychotherapies for at-risk older people, and aftercare for those who have self-harmed have best evidence of effect. Strategies to improve social connectedness have shown benefits on measures of social […]

Suicide thoughts and behaviour in later life

The unique factors which contribute to suicide actions in later life are often more difficult to recognise than contributing factors in younger individuals. Suicide thought may be passively expressed and can be triggered by the experience of existential loneliness or a sense of a ‘completed life’. This can give rise to self-neglect, particularly of one’s […]

Spatial analysis of mental health and suicide clustering among older adults in North Carolina: An exploratory analysis

Late-in-life suicide is a major public health issue, with adults over 65 comprising 18% of all suicide deaths. Yet, little research has identified geographic concentrations of older populations at-risk for the psychological conditions in the pathway of suicide. This research identified spatial clustering of suicide, anxiety, depression, and self-injury among older adults in North Carolina […]

Experiences of everyday ageism and the health of older US adults

Importance  Major incidents of ageism have been shown to be associated with poorer health and well-being among older adults. Less is known about routine types of age-based discrimination, prejudice, and stereotyping that older adults encounter in their day-to-day lives, known as everyday ageism. Objective  To examine the prevalence of everyday ageism, group differences and disparities, and associations […]

Rational suicide in late life: A systematic review of the literature.

Ageism and suicide prevention

Suicide in old age is often considered to be the result of a rational decision. Frailty, dependence on others, loss of a partner, and loneliness are seen as reasons that might explain many instances of suicide. Similarly, suicide can be interpreted as a legitimate exit in case of dramatic changes in social status and role. […]