Suicide in the elderly

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Abstract

Suicide is a major public health problem, with rates rising to their highest levels in many countries and cultures during the second half of life. The risk factors that contribute to later-life suicide are distinctive from those in younger populations. This paper reviews a variety of potential approaches for effective suicide prevention among elders, and considers as well both age-specific and general barriers that impede such efforts. It proposes that future effective measures will need to integrate public health and individual-oriented therapeutic approaches to intervention, and that specific efforts will need to be developed to address the natural history of suicidal processes.

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