Stereotypes of older adults Do they influence suicide?

Helmes, Edward (2015) Stereotypes of older adults Do they influence suicide? In: Proceedings of the Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Conference 2015. pp. 13-16. From: Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Conference 2015, 24-26 June 2015, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Many countries are experiencing unprecedented increases in the number of older adults in their population. In Australia, the fastest-growing segment of the population is of those over 85 years of age. The high suicide rate of older adults receives less public notice than rates among younger adults. I argue that at least some of the public attitudes toward suicide by older adults arise from some stereotypes of older adults as helpless and demented. While the range of factors influencing the decision to suicide is as broad as at other ages, there are aspects that may be specific to current cohorts of older adults. The first is the adoption of negative stereotypes as self-stereotypes of helplessness and cognitive impairment. The second is the issue of the stigma of having a mental health problem and of receiving treatment for such problems. Self:stereotypes of helplessness decrease the likelihood of recognition of problems such as depression. The reduction in the likelihood of treatment due to helplessness combines with stigma to further reduce the likelihood of engaging in treatment. Promotion of positive social engagement and the recognition of depression and related disorders can help overcome the negative stereotypes and reduce the suicide rate.

Item ID: 41529
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2016 01:36
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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