IASP Special Interest Group - Suicide Among Older Adults

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 centres. 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.



1) 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. & 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.

2) 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.

3) 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. Special issue on Suicide Prevention and Public Health, 9(3), 722-745.

4) Shah, A., Bhat, R., Zarate-Escudero, S., DeLeo, D., & Erlangsen, A. Suicide in centenarians: the international landscape (2014) International Psychogeriatrics; doi:10.1017/S104161021400111

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

6) 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

Co-chair contact details:
Annette Erlangsen: Annette.Erlangsen@regionh.dk; Sylvie Lapierre: Sylvie.Lapierre@uqtr.ca.

Annette Erlangsen:
Annette Erlangsen PhD is an Associate Professor and Program Leader at the Danish Research Institute of Suicide Prevention at Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Denmark. Furthermore, she is Adjunct Associate Professorship at the Department of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the USA. Dr. Erlangsen’s research interests cover suicide in older adults with a particular focus on record linkage data.

Associate Professor Annette Erlangsen

Sylvia Lapierre:
Prof. Sylvie Lapierre (Ph.D.). Full professor at the Department of psychology, University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières (Canada). Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory in Gerontology. Dr. Lapierre has been working on protective factors (personal goals and meaning in life) of suicide in old age. She has developed a goal management program as an innovative suicide prevention measure.

Prof Sylvie Lapierre