Suicide in an ageing UK population: problems and prevention

Gary Hodge
  • Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, December 2016, Emerald
  • DOI: 10.1108/qaoa-05-2015-0022

Suicide in an ageing UK population: problems and prevention

What is it about?

Purpose Suicide can be an emotive, and at times, controversial subject. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the social, health, personal, and cultural issues that can arise in later life and the potential reasons for suicide. It will analyse already recognised risk factors of suicide in older adults and focus on improving knowledge about the social meaning and causation of suicide for older people. It will also consider suicide prevention policies, their practice implications, and whether they are successful in protecting this potentially vulnerable cohort. Design/methodology/approach A synopsis of available literature in the form of a general review paper of suicide of older adults.

Why is it important?

Social implications The entry of the “baby boom” generation into retirement will lead to the potential of an increase in both suicide risk factors and older adults completing suicide. This is on the background of a demographic surge which is likely to place additional pressures on already under-resourced, and undervalued, statutory and non-statutory services.


Gary Hodge

Findings There is evidence that the ageing process often leads to a set of co-morbidities and a complex and diverse set of individual challenges. This in turn equates to an increased risk of suicide. There is no easy answer to why there is evidence of a growing number of older adults deciding that suicide is there only option, and even fewer suggestions on how to manage this risk.

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