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Recognizing suicide risk in older adults

April 23, 2016

Yeates Conwell, co-director of Rochester’s Center for Study and Prevention of Suicide talks about the “four D’s” that contribute to suicide risk in older adults, and a video produced for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and featured today in the Washington Post online. 

“One thing that people don’t recognize is that worldwide men and women, as they get older, are at greater and greater risk for suicide, explains Conwell.

The “four D’s” that Conwell says can be recognized and addressed in older adults to reduce their risk for suicide are:

  • Depression, meaning clinical depression;
  • Debility, or when chronic illness begins to have an impact on the person’s ability to do things that are personally meaningful to them;
  • Disconnectedness, or loss of opportunities for social interactions; and
  • Deadly means. Conwell points out that over 75% of older men who take their own lives use a firearm.

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Category: Voices & Opinion