To review the research on the epidemiology, risk and resiliency, assessment, treatment, and prevention of late-life suicide. Method: I reviewed mortality statistics. I searched MEDLINE and PsycINFO databases for research on suicide risk and resiliency and for randomized controlled trials with suicidal outcomes. I also reviewed mental health outreach and suicide prevention initiatives. Results: Approximately 12/100,000 individuals aged 65 years or over die by suicide in Canada annually. Suicide is most prevalent among older white men; risk is associated with suicidal ideation or behaviour, mental illness, personality vulnerability, medical illness, losses and poor social supports, functional impairment, and low resiliency. Novel measures to assess late-life suicide features are under development. Few randomized treatment trials exist with at-risk older adults. Conclusions: Research is needed on risk and resiliency and clinical assessment and interventions for at-risk older adults. Collaborative outreach strategies might aid suicide prevention.
(Reprinted with permission from Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 2006;51:143—154. https://ww1.cpa-apc.org/Publications/Archives/CJP/2006/march1/heisel-IR.asp)