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The elderly made up 12.9% of the population; they accounted for almost 15.9% of all suicides.

There was one elderly suicide every 90 minutes.  There were about 16 elderly suicides each day resulting in 5,858 suicides in among those 65 and older.

Elderly white men were at the highest risk with a rate of approximately 31.2 suicides per 100,000 each year.

White men over the age of 85, who are labeled “old-old”, were at the greatest risk of all age-gender-race groups.  In 2009, the suicide rate for these men was 45.6 per 100,000. That was 2.4 times the current rate for men of all ages (19.2 per 100,000).

84.4% of elderly suicides were male; the rate of male suicides in late life was 5.4 times greater than for female suicides.

Although older adults attempt suicide less often than those in other age groups, they have a higher completion rate.  For all ages combine, there is an estimated 1 suicide for every 100-200 attempts.  Over the age of 65, there is one estimated suicide for every 4 attempted suicides.

Firearms were the most common means (72.5%) used for completing suicide among the elderly.  Men use firearms more often than women.

One of the leading causes of suicide among the elderly is depression, often undiagnosed and/or untreated.

The act of completing suicide is rarely preceded by only one cause or one reason.  In the elderly, common risk factors include:

  • The recent death of a loved one
  • Physical illness
  • Uncontrollable pain or the fear of a prolonged illness
  • Perceived poor health
  • Social isolation and loneliness
  • Major changes in social roles (e.g. retirement)




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Macomb County Suicide Prevention Coalition
The Macomb County Suicide Prevention Coalition (MCSPC) is incorporated as a stand-alone charitable organization governed by concerned professionals and citizens. The MCSPC is not a corporate affiliate of either Macomb County Community Mental Health or the County of Macomb.

The contents of this website were made possible by the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrating Schools and Mental Health Systems Grant. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government