Suicidal Behaviour in Older Adults

  • Diego De LeoEmail author
  • Urska Arnautovska


Suicide rates among older adults are the highest in nearly every part of the world. Also in late life, suicide is a multifactorial problem with several interrelated factors that vary with age, gender and culture. Depression is one of the main risk factors for suicide in older adults; however, cultural variations do exist that change the hierarchy of importance of risk factors. In the oldest olds, men appear to be more vulnerable than women to adverse life circumstances. Thus, suicide prevention in older adults should pay particular attention to the many socio-environmental conditions that may be relevant in this age, especially social isolation, loneliness, financial insecurity and physical illnesses. Early detection and treatment of affective disorders are key interventions to reduce the risk of suicide in this late part of life. Ageistic perspectives are still very present also among health professionals and should be counteracted with great determination. Promoting a culture of adaptation to the changes imposed by the advancing of age should form the essential part of a process central to suicide prevention.


Suicide Suicidal behaviour Older adults Risk factors Protective factors Treatment of suicidality 



Thanks are due to colleagues that have helped in growing our interest towards the theme of suicide in old age, particularly Prof José’ Bertolote, Dr. Karolina Krysinska and Prof Brian Draper.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith UniversityMount GravattAustralia
  2. 2.Slovene Centre for Suicide ResearchUniversity of PrimorskaKoperSlovenia
  3. 3.School of Applied Psychology and Mental Health Institute Queensland, Griffith UniversityMount GravattAustralia

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