Higher suicide risk among older immigrants with untreated depression

October 08, 2020

The risk of suicide is clearly elevated in the category of older women with untreated depression who were born outside the Nordic region, compared with corresponding Swedish-born women. This is shown by a study from the University of Gothenburg. Sweden.

"Our results indicate the need for innovative public health measures to meet needs among older foreign-born adults, especially women," says Khedidja Hedna, a researcher at AgeCap, the Centre for Ageing and Health at the University of Gothenburg, and lead author of the article now published in European Journal of Public Health.

Despite the high proportion of suicide in the 75+ age group, there has been very little research on the reasons why this is so. Since medication for depression is regarded as an important strategy for suicide prevention, a research team conducted a major national population study to investigate factors related to raised suicide risk among older adults, with and without antidepressant therapy.

The research was done by merging large national population registers to obtain a group of more than 1.4 million inhabitants of Sweden aged 75 and over, who were monitored for up to eight years. During the period, 1,305 people died by suicide: 907 men and 398 women.

Of the women who took their own lives, 164 had untreated depression; and 42 of the total number of female suicides (398) were of women born outside the Nordic region. Suicide risk was elevated among older immigrant women, and the risk was particularly high among those who did not receive medication for depression.

Among women who took antidepressants, the raised suicide risk was associated with high-status employment before retirement. In men, an elevated risk was found in those who were not treated for depression and who had manual jobs.

Another gender difference was the protective effect of being married, which was seen only in men. Raised suicide rates were observed among unmarried men both with and without antidepressant therapy.

The study was led by Margda Waern, Professor of Psychiatry specializing in suicidology at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

"Our results highlight the need for outreach services in healthcare, especially for older women born outside the Nordic region, and also for older men, who may also need measures to reduce their social isolation. The study indicates gender differences in factors related to suicide among people aged 75 and over, and these results may be helpful for personalized, gender-specific strategies for suicide prevention in psychiatric care, primary care and the social services," Waern says.
-end-
Title: Sociodemographic and gender determinants of late-life suicide in users and non-users of antidepressants, https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckaa114

Contacts:


Margda Waern, +46-702 272 205, margda.waern@vgregion.se
Khedidja Hedna, +971-561 978 897, khedidja.hedna@neuro.gu.se

University of Gothenburg

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.