Some features of older men and women

Along with risk factors, these are features of older men and women that you may need to consider.

  • Living in areas with a higher male population
  • Living in areas with a higher proportion of tenant household dwellers
  • Living in areas with a higher proportion of immigrants from North-West Europe[1]
  • Loss of a partner
  • Isolation and social disconnectedness[2]
  • Depression (although the contribution of mental health disorders is less than in the younger age groups
  • Cultural Issues
  • Poor coping skills
  • Low sense of self[4]
  • Ill health
  • Alcoholism
  • Carer stress
  • Loss of former functioning

 Additionally for this age group

  • High numbers of suicide occur, however other causes of death dominate
  • Impulsivity is less of a factor
  • Suicide is more calculated; less opportunities for rescue
  • Suicidal thinking is less common but, when it does occur, it indicates a high risk of suicide
  • Few suicides occur in the context of terminal physical illness and these suicides may be influenced by depression1

Useful contacts for older men and women


[1]Law, C., Kolves, K. & De Leo, D. (2016). Influences of population-level factors on suicides in older adults: a national ecological study from Australia. Geriatric Psychiatry, 31, 388-395.

[2] Almeida, O. P., Draper, B., Snowdon, J., Lautenschlager, N. T., Pirkis, J., Byrne, G., Sim, M., Stocks, N., Flicker, L., & Pfaff, J. J. (2012). Factors associated with suicidal thoughts in a large community study of older adults. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 201, 466-472.

[3] Slade, T., Johnston, A., Teesson, M., Whiteford, H., Burgess, P., Pirkis, J., & Saw, S. (2009). The Mental Health of Australians 2. Canberra, Australia: Department of Health andAgeing.

[4] Canetto, S.S. (2017). Suicide: Why are older men so vulnerable? Men and Masculinities, 20(1), 49-70. doi: 10.1177/1097184X15613832

[5] Conwell, Y., Duberstein, P. R., & Caine, E. D. (2002). Risk factors for suicide in later life. Biological Psychiatry, 52(3), 193-204.




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