Assessment and Prevention of Suicide in Older Adults

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Presented by Yeates Conwell, MD, University of Rochester Medical Center

In this talk, Conwell outlines special aspects of suicide in older adults, and the issues that make suicide in this population challenging to address. He provides a framework that conceptualizes the topic and suggests treatment and prevention strategies.

Watch now to learn more about:

  • Suicide risk factors for older adults
  • Recommended interventions
  • Prevention strategies and the role of primary care

Conwell provides the “5 Ds” framework for thinking about late-life suicide: depression, disease, disability, disconnectedness, and deadly means.

He points out that older adults are the most rapidly growing segment of the U.S. population. Suicidal behavior is more lethal in later life than at other points in the life course, Conwell says. When it comes to suicide, older adults tend to use more immediately lethal means. When we recognize an older adult is at risk, he says, our interventions must be aggressive.

Broad prevention strategies for this population include detection and treatment of depression with antidepressant treatments and other medications; psychotherapies; integrative behavioral health as part of primary care treatment; universal prevention; fighting ageism; and recognizing the contributions of older adults to society.