Intended for healthcare professionals


A national target for reducing suicide

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 16 January 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:191

Suicide in older people must be reduced

  1. M Abas, Lecturer.,
  2. M J Crawford, Research fellow (
  1. Section of Old Age Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, London SE5 8AF
  2. Glanrhyd Hospital, Bridgend CF31 4LN

    EDITOR—Hawton's editorial emphasises the importance of continuing to set national targetsto reduce the rate of suicide.1 We were surprised, however, by the groups that were selected as being particularly at risk of suicide and therefore as requiring special attention.

    We agree that the rise in the rate of suicide in young men, both nationally and internationally, is of considerable concern. Suicide rates in men over 75are still, however, the highest in any demographic group. Although it is difficult to predict future changes in rates of suicide accurately, evidence from birth cohort analyses suggest that rates of suicide in older people will increase.2 Targeted approaches for reducing suicide in older people would include optimising the management of pain and disability and reducing handicap and social isolation. …

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