Year: 2002 Source: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, v.17, no.3, (March 2002), p.261-269 SIEC No: 20020762

Reports show that suicides in old age are commonly related to depression, but that in a majority of cases disability or ill-health is also a major factor. An Australian metropolitan coroner’s office provided data concerning suicides in 1994-1998 of persons aged over 65 years. Of 210 elderly people who killed themselves, 160 (76%) were depressed, including a majority of the 24% deemed to have understandable reasons for suicide. Physical ill-health or disability was the major factor leading to suicide in 34% & appeared to contribute to suicidal ideation in another 24% of those who died. Because depression is often treatable, there is potential for further reduction of old age suicide rates by recognizing & responding to symptoms of depression & distress. (23 refs.)