Invited Perspective| Volume 29, ISSUE 10, P1047-1052, October 2021

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Is Suicide the End Point of Ageism and Human Rights Violations?


      • What is the primary question addressed by this study? This paper examines how human rights violations and ageism may contribute to older persons' decisions to die by suicide and discusses solutions to address these issues.
      • What is the main finding of this study? When the human rights of older persons are not upheld- including the rights to equality in quality healthcare, independent community living, respect for relationships and autonomy- risk factors for suicide may emerge or be exacerbated. Suicide prevention initiatives for older persons must be evidence-based, recognise and address ageism and human rights violations, and be specific for older persons.
      • What is the meaning of the finding? Reframing approaches to older persons' suicide prevention though the lens of human rights, may be an effective way to identify and counteract the multiple and significant impacts of ageism and human rights violations on older adults and to reduce the likelihood of suicide being chosen as a solution.


      Ageism and human rights violations may pervade each of the potential factors underlying suicidal ideation or behavior in older persons, including physical and mental health, disability, relationships, and social factors. We outline how infringements of human rights and ageism may create or exacerbate risk factors associated with suicide in older persons. Strategies to address these issues are discussed, including tackling ageism, psychosocial interventions and education. A United Nations convention on the rights of older persons would create a uniform standard of accountability across health and social systems. Future studies are needed to evaluate the effects of alleviating ageism and human rights violations on suicide.

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