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As Suicide Rates Climb, Older Men Are Most Vulnerable

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15, 2023 (Healthday News) — As U.S. suicide rates proceed to rise, recent government data shows older men have change into probably the most susceptible.



In a report published Wednesday, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found there have been about 30 suicide deaths for each 100,000 men aged 55 and older in 2021. That number is greater than double the general rate of just over 14 suicide deaths for each 100,000 those that yr.

The older a person, the greater his risk for suicide: Those 85 and older saw 56 suicide deaths for each 100,000 people, a statistic that surpassed every other age group.

Suicide is complex, Dr. Yeates Conwell, a psychiatry professor on the University of Rochester, told CNN.

Five aspects can fuel suicide risk — depression, disease, disability, disconnection and deadly means — and these risk aspects could be “relatively more salient for older adults,” he said.

“Imagine a Venn diagram with these five circles, each representing one among those ‘Ds’ that overlap. The more of the intersecting circles one is in, the greater the danger,” said Conwell, who also leads a geriatric psychiatry program and co-directs the university’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide.

A mixture of more physical illness and disability, together with more social isolation and more loss, leaves older adults more vulnerable to suicide, he explained.

Even so, older women seem less vulnerable to suicide than their male peers.

While the suicide rate amongst older women has increased over the past twenty years, it still falls far below the speed amongst older men. There have been about 6 suicide deaths for each 100,000 women 55 and older in 2021, in keeping with the brand new report.

Firearms could also be fueling this gender difference, experts say.

Greater than half of suicides involve guns, but firearms are a good more common method amongst older men, utilized in a minimum of three-quarters of suicides amongst men 65 and older in 2021, the report found.

Men are also more likely than women to own a gun, and seniors usually tend to have a gun within the household, in keeping with a survey from Pew Research Center. Not only that, but nearly all suicide attempts using guns are fatal, making them probably the most lethal technique of suicide.

Men have a “greater comfort with and access to firearms,” Conwell added, probably because they’re more more likely to have military training or hunting experience.

But men are also more vulnerable to a less tangible factor, Conwell noted.

“Older men in our society tend to not have the abilities in developing and maintaining close relationships with as many other people as do women in our culture,” he said. “There’s an excessive amount of identity tied up in a single’s work, in order that is lost [after retirement]. After which there’s the cultural script of what maleness means in in our culture, so men just won’t admit or won’t receive take care of depression due to that sense that it’s in some way not what a person does.”

More information

When you or someone you like are experiencing suicidal thoughts, the 988 line will help.

SOURCE: NCHS Data Transient, Suicide Amongst Adults Age 55 and Older, 2021, Nov. 15, 2023; CNN

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