Suicide prevention in older adults

Carlos Augusto de Mendonça Lima, Diego De Leo, Gabriel Ivbijaro, Igor Svab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Suicide among older adults is a multifactorial problem with several interrelated factors involved that vary with age, gender and culture. The number of suicides is highest in those aged 70 years or older in almost all regions of the world. With the increase in life expectancy, and the decrease in mortality due to other causes of death, we could expect the absolute number of older adults' suicide continue increasing. Methods: Review of the literature on suicide protective factors of suicide among older adults. Results: Improvements on social determinants of health and the timely detection and early treatment of affective disorders are key interventions. Prevention based on community actions and training of gatekeepers may have positive impact. Community programs that promote a sense of usefulness, belonging and that contribute to preserve social integration should be encouraged. Governments should develop the improvement of retirement programs and the development of support systems. The access to general health and mental health services should be facilitated and Primary Care professionals should receive proper training to detect and manage older persons at risk. Actively promoting a culture of coping to different stages of life and to the changes imposed by the advancing of age should form the essential part of a process bringing to better successful aging avenues. Conclusions: Suicide prevention in older adults should broaden its focus and pay attention to the many socio-environmental conditions that may be relevant in older age, especially social isolation, financial security and physical health.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12473
Issue number3
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • COVID-19
  • older adults
  • suicide
  • suicide behavior
  • suicide prevention


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