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CAN EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING MAINTAIN HEALTH AND PREVENT SUICIDE IN LATER LIFE? A NATIONAL PRIORITY FOR RESEARCH

Commentary on: Life-Satisfaction, Engagement, Mindfulness, Flourishing, and Social Support: Do They Predict Depression, Suicide Ideation, and History of Suicide Attempt in Late Life?
Published:January 25, 2023DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2023.01.008
      The study of suicide and its prevention has been dominated by a focus on factors that increase the risk of an individual dying by suicide. Relatively less attention has been paid to protective factors, those that reduce the likelihood or mitigate the impact of suicidal ideation and behavior. [
      • O'Connor RC
      • Nock MK
      The psychology of suicidal behaviour.
      ] Characteristics of older adults suggest that protective factors could play an important role in reducing the toll that suicide takes in later life. Suicidal behavior in older adulthood tends to be more lethal than at younger ages due to the older person's reduced physical reserves (less likely to survive an injury), greater likelihood of social isolation (reduced likelihood of detection and rescue), and because a higher proportion of older adults who do take their own lives use firearms and act with greater planning and intent to die. [
      • Conwell Y
      Suicide later in life: challenges and priorities for prevention.
      ] Moving “upstream” to equip older people with resources that protect them from becoming suicidal, or acting on thoughts of death if they do, may be an effective approach to decreasing deaths by suicide in later life.
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