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Depression & Suicide in Older Adults: Screening, Treatment & Important Conversations

Published May 25, 2022

Cover Image of Depression and Suicide in Older Adults Tip Sheet

An estimated 19.4 million adults in the U.S. had at least one major depressive disorder in 2019. Its toll can be enormous — interrupting a person’s daily life, causing insomnia and fatigue, impacting memory and decision-making, raising the risk of cardiovascular disease, increasing pain sensitivity, weakening the immune system, causing weight changes, and raising the risk of death. Death by suicide is a serious problem for people ages 65 and older who make up 16 percent of the population but account for more than 19 percent of suicides. White men ages 85 and older take their own lives at four times the rate of the general population.

Depression may present differently in older adults — complicating timely recognition and treatment. This resource includes guidance on recognizing and screening for depression in older adults, tips on having important conversations with your patients about treatment, and links to additional resources.

The Healthy Aging Blog

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