Studies show that, in many countries, suicides rates among elderly persons are higher than, or as high as, young people. However, suicide in old age is a much neglected area. In fact, there is a lack of basic knowledge and training about elderly suicide among clinicians, as well as in suicide prevention centers. With the aging population, the number of older adults will increase significantly all over the world in the next decades and the number of suicide will probably increase accordingly.

The main goal is to support research and network between researchers dedicated to the study and prevention of suicide in older adults. We organize symposia on suicide in older adults at international conferences, conduct systematic reviews, and facilitate international research projects as well as other initiatives.


Suicide Prevention Resource Center: https://www.sprc.org/populations/older-adults

Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health: https://ccsmh.ca/projects/suicide/

Suicide prevention among older adults. A guide for family members: https://www.ualberta.ca/human-resources-health-safety-environment/media-library/health-and-wellbeing/mental-health/suicide/preventing-suicide-among-older-adults.pdf

Publications on COVID-19 and suicide among older adults

Aisenberg-Shafran, D., Bar-Tur, L., & Levi-Belz, Y. (2021). Who is really at risk? The contribution of death anxiety in suicide risk and loneliness among older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Death studies, 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481187.2021.1947416

Or, G., Levi-Belz, Y., & Aisenberg, D. (2021). Death anxiety and intrusive thinking during the COVID-19 pandemic. GeroPsych.‏ https://doi.org/10.1024/1662-9647/a000268

Wand, A. & Peisah, C. (2020). COVID-19 and suicide in older adults. Medical Journal of Australia, 213(7), 335-335.e1.  https://doi.org/10.5694/mja2.50763

Wand,  A. P. F., Zhong, B. L., Chiu, H., Draper, B., & De Leo, D. (2020). COVID-19: the implications for suicide in older adults. International Psychogeriatrics, 32(10), 1225-1230. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1041610220000770

Levi-Belz, Y., & Aisenberg, D. (2020). Together we stand: Suicide risk and suicide prevention among Israeli older adults during and after the COVID-19 world crisis. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(S1), S123-S125. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000667

Relevant publications on suicide in older adults

Cui, R., Gujral, S., Galfalvy, H., & Szanto, K. (in press). The role of perceived and objective social connectedness on risk for suicidal thoughts and behavior in late-life and their moderating effect on cognitive deficits. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2021.08.014

Wand, A., Verbeek, H., Hanon, C., de Mendonca Lima, C., Rabheru, K., & Peisah, C. (2021). Is suicide the end point of ageism and human rights violations? American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 29(10), 1047-1052. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2021.05.025

Castelli Dransart, D. A., Lapierre, S., Erlangsen, A., Canetto, S. S., Heisel, M., Draper, B., Lindner, R., Richard-Devantoy, S., Cheung, G., Scocco, P., Gusmão, R., De Leo, D., Inoue, K., De Techterman, V., Fiske, A., Hong, J. P., Landry, M., Lepage, A. A., Marcoux, I., Na, P. J., Neufeld, E., Ummel, D., Winslov, J.-H., Wong, C., Wu, J., & Wyart, M. (2021). A systematic review of older adults’ request for or attitude toward euthanasia or assisted-suicide. Aging & Mental Health, 25(3), 420-430. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2019.1697201

Kremeike, K., Pralong, A., Boström, K., Bausewein, C., Simon, S. T., Lindner, R., Voltz, R. (2021) ‘Desire to Die’ in palliative care patients — Legal framework and recommendations of the national evidence-based guideline on palliative care in Germany. Annals of Palliative Medicine, 10(3), 3594-3610. https://apm.amegroups.com/article/view/59723/html

Erlangsen, A., Banks, E., Joshy, G., Calear, A. L., Welsh, J., Batterham, P. J., Conwell, Y., & Salvador-Carulla, L. (2021). Physical, mental, and social wellbeing and their association with death by suicide and self-harm in older adults: A community-based cohort study. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 36(5), 647-656. https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.5463

Wiktorsson, S., Strömsten, L., Renberg, E. S., Runeson, B., & Waern, M. (2021). Clinical characteristics in older, middle-aged and young adults who present with suicide attempts at psychiatric emergency departments: A multisite study. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, S1064-7481(21)00419-X. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2021.08.001

Buerke, M., Galfalvy, H., Keilp, J. G., Sheftall, A. H., Burke, A. K., Bridge, J. A., Mann, J. J., & Szanto, K. (2021). Age effects on clinical and neurocognitive risk factors for suicide attempt in depression – Findings from the AFSP lifespan study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 295, 123-130. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2021.08.014

Wand, A. P., & McKay, R. (2021). The Zero Suicide Framework requires adaptation to include older adults. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 55(4), 427-428. https://doi.org/10.1177/0004867421998758

Wand, A. P. F., Draper, B., Brodaty, H., Hunt, G. E., & Peisah, C. (2021). Evaluation of an educational intervention for clinicians on self-harm in older adults. Archives of Suicide Research, 25(1), 156-176. https://doi.org/10.1080/13811118.2019.1706678

Jonson, M., Sigström, R., Mellqvist Fässberg, M., Wetterberg, H., Rydén, L., Rydberg Sterner, T., Hedna, K., Lagerlöf Nilsson, U., Skoog, I., & Waern, M. (2021). Passive and active suicidal ideation in Swedish 85-year-olds: Time trends 1986-2015. Journal of Affective Disorders, 290, 300-307. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2021.04.060

Hedna, K., Fastbom, J., Erlangsen, A., & Waern, M. (2021). Antidepressant use and suicide rates in adults aged 75 and above: A Swedish nationwide cohort study. Frontiers in Public Health, 9, 611559. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.611559

Gujral, S., Butters, M. A., Dombrovski, A. Y., & Szanto, K. (2021). Late-onset suicide: A dementia prodrome? The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 29(7), 709-713. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2020.12.004

Perry, M., Buerke, M., Szücs, A., Allen, T. A., Bruine de Bruin, W., Szanto, K., & Dombrovski, A. Y. (2021). A lifetime of challenges: Real-life decision outcomes in early- and late-onset suicide attempters. Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, 4, 100105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadr.2021.100105

Wand, A. P. F., & Reppermund, S. (2021). Commentary. Longitudinal big data needs to meet the individual to inform self-harm and suicide prevention in older adults. International Psychogeriatrics, 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1041610220004147

Castelli Dransart, D. A., Maggiori, C., Lapierre, S., Voélin, S. (2020). Will they let me die? Perspectives of older Swiss adults on end-of-life issues. Death studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481187.2020.1788669

Michaud Dumont, G., Lapierre, S., & Viau-Quesnel, C. (2020). The experience of adults bereaved by the suicide of a close elderly relative: A qualitative pilot study. Frontiers in Psychology – section Health Psychology, 11:2331. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.538678

Bernier, S., Lapierre, S., Desjardins, S. (2020). Social interactions among older adults who wish for death. Clinical Gerontologist, 43(1), 4-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/07317115.2019.1672846

Hedna, K., Hensing, G., Skoog, I., Fastbom, J., & Waern, M. (2020). Sociodemographic and gender determinants of late-life suicide in users and non-users of antidepressants. European Journal of Public Health, 30(5), 958-964. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckaa114

Hedna, K., Fastbom, J., Skoog, I., Hensing, G., & Waern, M. (2020). What are the sociodemographic and gender determinants of non-fatal self-harm in older adult users and non-users of antidepressants? A national population-based study. BMC Public Health, 20(1), 764. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-08892-2

Szanto, K., Galfalvy, H., Kenneally, L., Almasi, R., & Dombrovski, A. Y. (2020). Predictors of serious suicidal behavior in late-life depression. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 40, 85-98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2020.06.005

Szücs, A., Szanto, K., Wright, A., & Dombrovski, A. Y. (2020). Personality of late- and early-onset elderly suicide attempters. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 35(4), 384-395. https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.5254

Wand, A., & Peisah, C. (2020). The development of an online training tool for crisis supporters on late life suicide: Improving knowledge while promoting empowerment. Archives of suicide research. https://doi.org/10.1080/13811118.2020.1833798

Mellqvist Fässberg, M., Cheung, G., Canetto, S. S., Erlangsen, A., Lapierre, S., Lindner, R., Draper, B., Gallo, J. J., Wong, C., Wu, J., Duberstein, P., & Waern, M. (2015). A systematic review of physical illness, functional disability and suicidal behaviour among older adults. Aging and Mental Health. Special issue on suicidal behavior in older adults. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2015.1083945

Shah, A., Bhat, R., Zarate-Escudero, S., De Leo, D., & Erlangsen, A. (2015). Suicide rates in five-year age-bands after the age of 60 years: The international landscape. Aging and Mental Healthhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2015.1055552

Shah, A., Bhat, R., Zarate-Escudero, S., De Leo, D., & Erlangsen, A. (2014). Suicide in centenarians: The international landscape. International Psychogeriatrics, 26(10), 1703-1708. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1041610214001112

Mellqvist Fässberg, M., Van Orden, K., Duberstein, P., Erlangsen, A., Lapierre, S., Bodner, E., Canetto, S., De Leo, D., Draper, B., Szanto, K., Waern, M. (2012). A systematic review of social factors and suicidal behavior in older adulthood. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 9(3), 722-745. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph9030722

Lapierre, S., Erlangsen, A., Waern, M., De Leo, D., Oyama, H., Scocco, P., Gallo, J.J., Szanto, K., Conwell, Y., Draper, B., Quinnett, P., and the International Research Group for Suicide among the Elderly (2011). A systematic review of elderly suicide prevention programs. Crisis, 32(2), 88-98. https://doi.org/10.1027/0227-5910/a000076

Erlangsen, A., Nordentoft, M., Conwell, Y., Waern, M., De Leo, D., Lindner, R., Oyama, H., Sakashita, T., Andersen-Ranberg, K., Quinnett, P., Draper, B., Lapierre, S. and the International Research Group on the Elderly and Suicide (2011). Key considerations for preventing suicide in older adults: Consensus opinions of an expert panel. Crisis, 32(2), 106-109. https://doi.org/10.1027/0227-5910/a000053

Publications in German

Lindner, R., Goldblatt, M., Briggs, S., & Teising, M. (2021). Häufig ambivalent. Todeswünsche am Ende des Lebens [Often ambivalent. Death wishes at the end of life]. Deutsches Ärzteblatt, 118(21), A1050-1052. https://www.aerzteblatt.de/pdf.asp?id=219234

Lindner, R. (2020). Psychoanalytisch orientierte studien zur suizidalität im alter [Psychoanalytically oriented studies on suicidality in old age]. Forum der Psychoanalyse, 36, 149-161. https://ur.booksc.eu/book/82311550/0fc1e1

Müller-Pein, H., & Lindner, R. (2020) Suizid im Alter [Suicide in old age]. In K. Aner & U. Karl (Eds.), Handbuch Soziale Arbeit und Alter [Handbook of Social Work and Age] (pp. 533-541). Berlin: Springer. https://www.springer.com/de/book/9783658266233

Kremeike, K., Perrar K.M., Lindner, R. Bostroem K., Montag, T., Voltz, R. (2019). Todeswünsche bei Palliativpatienten – Hintergründe und Handlungsempfehlungen [Death wishes in palliative patients – background and recommendations for action]. Zeitschrift für Palliativmedizin, 20(6), 323-335. https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/a-0733-2062

Lindner, R. (2018). Psychotherapie bei wunsch nach assistiertem suizid [Psychotherapy in the event of a desire for assisted suicide]. Suizidprophylaxe, 45(2), 49-55. http://www.suizidprophylaxe-online.de/pdf/05_heft173_2018.pdf

Three chapters of the book Suizidprävention Deutschland. Aktueller Stand und Perspektiven [Suicide prevention Germany. Current status and perspectives], published in 2021 by the Deutsche Akademie für Suizidprävention, are worth mentioning. https://www.naspro.de/dl/Suizidpraevention-Deutschland-2021.pdf

1) Lindner, R., Sperling, U., Drinkmann, A., Hery, D., Renken, S., Schneider, B., Supprian, T., & Teising, M. (2021). Suizidprävention für alte Menschen [Suicide prevention for the elderly]. Pages 141-168.

2) Perrar, K.M., Boström, K., Kremeike, K., Münch, U., Lindner, R., Schneider, B., Voltz, R. (2021) Suizidprävention in der hospiz- und palliativversorgung [Suicide prevention in hospice and palliative care]. Pages 190-212.

3) Fiedler, G., Schneider, B., Giegling, I. Rujescu, D., Lindner, R. (2021). Suizidalität und suizidprävention in Deutschland – Ein blick auf den gegenwärtigen stand [Suicidality and suicide prevention in Germany – A look at the current state]. Pages 17-39.

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