Marnin J. Heisel, PhD, C.Psych,
Older adults have high rates of suicide worldwide. Suicide rates increase with advancing age, and older adults typically use highly lethal means of self-destruction. In addition, suicidal older adults tend to pursue treatment in primary care rather than mental health settings, but current limitations in the primary care system potentially restrict suicide prevention in older patients. We briefly review the epidemiology of late-life suicide and suggest modifications in primary care to better address the psychosocial needs of at-risk older adults, supported by research on suicide risk and resiliency, clinical assessment and treatment options, and collaborative models of primary medicine and mental healthcare.
Key words: suicide, suicide ideation, suicidal behaviour, older adults, primary care.