Circumstances surrounding the suicide of elderly people

Girliani Silva de Sousa Raimunda Magalhães da Silva Ana Elisa Bastos Figueiredo Maria Cecília de Souza Minayo Luiza Jane Eyre de Souza Vieira About the authors

This text analyses experiences and family relationships that preceded the suicide of an elderly person. This was a qualitative study using the psychosocial autopsy method. The cases of 16 elderly people who committed suicide in three cities in northeastern Brazil between 2006 and 2009 were considered. From content analysis, two categories were elucidated: experiences that came before the suicide and enunciation of the suicide by the elderly person to family members. The prominent factors associated with the suicide were mood swings and expressions of depressive states, family conflicts permeated by financial problems and abusive use of alcohol and suicidal ideation through announcing the wish to finish life early. Wide-ranging viewpoints and reflective listening in relation to these elderly individuals become necessary among social workers, family members, friends and several sectors: specifically, managers and professionals of the healthcare sector who can create significant changes in the dynamics of the service.

Elderly person; Suicide; Family dynamics

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