Suicide Prevention and Older People: Clinical Management

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De Leo, Diego
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2017
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Abstract

In comparison with the figures in a graph that the World Health Organization (WHO) posted on its website in 1999, showing the trend in global suicide mortality from 1950 to 1995 divided by sex, suicide rates have recently appeared to be declin­ing. A reexamination performed by Bertolote and De Leo (2012), following exactly the same methodology used by WHO in their original calculations and concentrat­ing on a comparison between the periods of 1992-1995 and 2004-2009 (inclusive of data provided on a continuing basis by 62 countries), demonstrated not only a general decline in suicide rates for both sexes and all age groups, but an especially relevant decrease in old-age individuals, particularly in those aged 75 years and over (Figure 8.1 and Figure 8.2). This evidence directly conflicts with predictions made by WHO and those seeing in the increased number of the older people in the general population an almost inevitable and concomitant increase in their mortality caused by suicide (De Leo et al., 2002; Scocco & De Leo, 2002; Scocco, Meneghel, Caon, Dello Buono, & De Leo, 2001). As seen in Figures 8.1 and 8.2, for older adults, the decrease begins with those 65-74 years old. Most probably, declines in older suicide rates are not to be associated with specific suicide prevention strategies, but (more generally) to improved health conditions, quality of life, and retirement programmes (De Leo et al., 2009a, 2009b ).

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Resources for Suicide Prevention: Bridging Research and Practice
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Psychology not elsewhere classified
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