Suicide among older people “hidden tragedy”

The high level of suicides among older people in Scotland is a
“hidden national tragedy” delegates heard at
Community Care Live Scotland last week, writes
Amy Taylor.

Liz Duncan, Scottish Executive officer for older people’s
charity Help the Aged, said that someone aged over 55 killed
themselves every two and a half days in Scotland.

She added that depression was usually behind older people taking
their own lives and that doctors often failed to diagnose this.

Duncan said that older people’s mental health needed to be
raised up the policy agenda of the Scottish Executive and that the
general public needed to be made more aware of the issue.

The executive has launched Choose Life a national strategy and
action plan that aims to reduce suicide in Scotland by 20 per cent
by 2013. It has £12 million funding for the 2003-2006 period
for local and national work.

The strategy has seven priority groups but older people are not
one of them and Help the Aged want this to be changed.


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