Elderly people are more likely to succeed in committing suicide than any other age group, suggests a report.
Healthcare professionals often do not pick up depressive symptoms in this age group or taken them as seriously as they would in younger people, according tothe study from the Centre for Ageing and Mental Health at Staffordshire University.
For every 200 suicide attempts among 16 to 25 year olds, one will be successful. But one in every two attempts will be successful among those aged 80 and older.
While previous attempts were a strong indicator that an elderly person would eventually succeed at committing suicide, it could often be totally unexpected.
The authors said early dementia, retirement and disease were often contributory factors to severe depression, but many healthcare professionals tended to interpret the signs as a normal part of ageing.
The report Older People and Suicide is available at www.staffs.ac.uk