Understanding Vulnerability to Late-Life Suicide

Olivia J. Ding, Gary J. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: We review recent evidence on suicide among older adults, examine risk factors contributing to vulnerability to late-life suicide, and summarize possible interventions. Recent Findings: We found a steadily increasing rate of late-life suicide in the USA in the past decade. Evidence supporting the integration of depression care managers into primary care for risk reduction is among the strongest to date. Pharmacologic and neuromodulation studies should be considered in geriatric depression complicated by suicidality. Broad societal campaigns about suicide education, as well as active outreach to psychiatric patients after discharge or a suicidal crisis, prevent suicidal behavior. Growing research supports an integrative multidisciplinary approach. Summary: Suicide is a complex and multifaceted behavior with numerous casual points for intervention. Access to deadly means, presence of depression, disease, disability, and social disconnection are factors that increase vulnerability. Quality geriatric care, regular screening in primary and emergency care settings, and a multidisciplinary approach are necessary to mitigate risk factors. The COVID-19 pandemic amplifies need for a more aggressive approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number58
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Geriatric
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide and self-harm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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