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Major Depression and Seniors and Suicide

Major Depression

Major depression affects two to three million individuals in North America who are age 65 or over. When you include milder levels of depression, the illness might affect as many as six million older adults in the US.

It is not uncommon for a co-occurring disorder to accompany depression, such as abuse of alcohol, drugs or prescription medications. Both require treatment, preferably concurrently.

Seniors and Suicide

Depression is the most common diagnosis in older adults who have attempted suicide. One older adult (65+) on average dies by suicide every 99.2 minutes.

  • Suicide rate for the nation 11.1 individuals in a population of 100,000
  • Suicide rate for young people (ages 15-24) 9.9 individuals in a population of 100,000
  • Suicide rate for older adults (ages 65+) 14.2 individuals in a population of 100,000

The Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention has a 24-hour Friendship Line for seniors. Call 1-800-971-0016. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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