152996 Suicide among persons 65 years and older, Oklahoma, 2004

Monday, November 5, 2007

H. Julien Kabore, DDS, MPH , Injury Prevention Service, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma City, OK
Sheryll Brown, MPH , Injury Prevention Service, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma City, OK
Pam Archer, MPH , Injury Prevention Service, Oklahoma Department of Health, Oklahoma City, OK
Purpose: To determine the incidence and circumstances surrounding elder suicide in Oklahoma during 2004 and propose prevention guidelines.

Methods: Oklahoma Violent Death Reporting System data were used to describe the incidence, demographics, methods, and circumstances of elder suicide in Oklahoma. Rates were calculated using 2004 census bridged race population data for Oklahoma.

Results: In 2004, 88 elder suicides occurred in Oklahoma (74 males and 14 females). Almost all victims were white (98%) and none were Hispanic. Fifty-nine percent of victims (52) were veterans. The rate of elder suicide was 18.9 per 100,000 population. The highest rate was among males 80-84 years of age (67.5). Forty-three percent (38) of victims were widowed, 42% (37) were married, 11% (10) were divorced and 4% (3) were never married. The vast majority of deaths (86%) occurred in a residence. Firearms were the predominant method of suicide (82%); followed by poisoning (12%); and hanging, suffocation or strangulation (6%). Males were more likely to use firearms than females (OR=4.7, 95% CI: 1.0-20.9). The leading circumstances surrounding elder suicide were physical health problems (75%), current depressed mood (34%), current mental health problems (32%) and a crisis within two weeks prior to the event (26%).

Conclusions: Suicide is a serious public health concern particularly among the elderly population. Elder suicide is rarely an impulsive act and opportunities for prevention exist. Understanding the precipitating factors such as physical and mental health problems are useful to guide interventions and inform providers.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the incidence and characteristics of suicide among persons 65 years of age and older in Oklahoma. 2. List data sources that comprise National Violent Death Reporting System suicide data. 3. List four contributing factors associated with elder suicide and proposed prevention strategies.

Keywords: Elderly, Suicide

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.