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Burden of illness and suicide in elderly people

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 24 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:441

Physical disease and depression are prevalent in elderly Finnish suicide victims

  1. Markku Timonen, psychiatrist. (,
  2. Kaisa Viilo, student of mathematical sciences.,
  3. Erkki Väisänen, professor of psychiatry.,
  4. Pirkko Räsänen, professor of psychiatry.,
  5. Helin Hakko, statistician.,
  6. Terttu Särkioja, doctor in forensic medicine.
  1. Oulu Health Center, Box 8, 90015 City of Oulu, Finland
  2. Department of Psychiatry, University of Oulu, Oulu
  3. Department of Psychiatry, Oulu University Hospital
  4. Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Oulu
  5. Boynton Beach, FL 33496, USA

    EDITOR—Waern et al report that among elderly people (those aged 65 years or more) serious physical illness was associated with increased risk of suicide in men but not in women.1 In addition, mental illnesses, particularly mood disorders, were strongly associated with suicide. Thus, the authors called for further investigations into depression in the context of physical disease in elderly people.

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    Finland has one of the world's highest death rates from suicide.2 The national Finnish hospital discharge register makes it possible to investigate reliably all hospital admissions for any physical diseases and mental disorders of each person living in Finland.3 We explored comorbid depression in the main …

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