I have heard people say that suicide is common among older people, is that true?
YES. The national suicide rate is about 12 per 100,000 population, while it is 15.3 for those aged 65 to 74 and 23 per 100,000 for those over age 85. It has been estimated that 17 to 25 percent of all reported suicides occur in persons aged 65 and older. However, older white males largely account for this high rate. For white women and for men and women of all other races, the suicide rate peaks earlier in the life span. Older adults also have a higher ratio of completed to attempted suicides than younger groups. The higher suicide rates might be explained by a variety of factors, including the loss of roles and status, chronic illnesses that diminish one's sense of control, and social isolation.
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Monday, July 07, 2008