Of all Canadian age groups, seniors have the highest rate of suicide and this number is expected to rise even further as baby boomers age. The October online issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal contains an early release article titled, “Senior Suicide: The tricky task of treatment” which outlines some of the resources available to help health professionals identify and prevent suicide in seniors.
The Geriatric Suicide Ideation Scale aims to help physicians detect suicide risk in adults 65 years and older. Developed by Dr. Marnim Heisel, a scientist with the Lawson Health Research Institute of the London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London, it is also available in an abbreviated version for quick but effective administration by busy physicians.
Other tools listed in the article include the “National Guidelines for Seniors’ Mental Health: The Assessment of Suicide Risk and Prevention of Suicide” available from the Canadian Coalition for Senior’s Mental Health (CCSMH). The CCSMH also has the “Late Life Suicide Prevention Toolkit: Life Saving Tools for Health Care Providers” which contains an interactive DVD and a pocket-sized guide for suicide risk assessment and management.