Suicide rates increase with age and are highest among white
men age 65 and older. Divorced and widowed men in this age group have the
highest suicide rates, and their most common method of suicide is
The following warning signs may be present in older
adults who have a high risk for suicide:
Depression. Older adults have higher
rates of depression than the general population.
Being alone for
long periods of time (social isolation)
Being preoccupied with
death in conversations
The diagnosis of a serious physical
Recent life change, such as the death or chronic illness of
a spouse or child, retirement, or financial problems
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of suicide. Talk to your doctor about these possible side effects and the warning signs of suicide.
Take any mention of suicide seriously. If someone you know is threatening to
commit suicide, get help right away. To learn more, see Suicidal Thoughts or Threats.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.