Perceived reasons for, opinions about, and suggestions for elders considering suicide: Elderly outpatients perspectives

Ying Jen Chen, Yun Fang Tsai*, Yan Chiou Ku, Shwu Hua Lee, Hsiu Lan Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purposes of this study were to explore elderly outpatients perceived reasons for, opinions of, and suggestions for elderly people considering suicide in Taiwan.Method: Elderly outpatients (N = 83) were recruited in 2011-2012 by convenience sampling from three randomly selected medical centers in Taiwan. Data were collected in individual interviews using a semi-structured guide and analyzed by content analysis.Results: Findings revealed that most participants had heard of elderly suicide, with television news as the main source for their information. Their opinions about elderly suicide reflected judgmental attitudes, negative emotional reactions, expectations of social welfare, and could happen after losing one's meaning in life. Their suggestions for elderly people considering suicide fell into four major themes: give up suicidal ideas, seek help, enhance social welfare, and attend religious activities.Conclusion: Since television news was the main source for participants information about elderly suicide, this mass medium should be used in suicide prevention to disseminate suicide knowledge, increase access to help, and strengthen suicide-protective factors among the elderly. Furthermore, no participants mentioned depression as a reason for attempted or completed suicide among older people despite depression being a well-known suicide-risk factor. Future suicide-prevention programs should emphasize the role of depression in suicide among older people. Participants also did not suggest that older people considering suicide seek help from the health system. Thus, older people should be educated about the role of the health system in suicide prevention and trained as gatekeepers to recognize signs of suicide ideation and respond appropriately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-599
Number of pages7
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 04 07 2014


  • gatekeepers
  • mass media
  • older people
  • suicide prevention


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