Study: telephone support systems may reduce suicide by older women at home

Posted on September 1st, by editor in Caring Times. No Comments

Telephone based systems using experienced, supportive interviewers are effective in reducing suicide among elderly women living at home, according to a recent study in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Suicide in people aged over 75 is a significant risk, because they are often reluctant to use mental health or crisis support services because of a lack of awareness, a belief that the services are not for them or too expensive, or because they mistrust the whole care system. Users of the TeleHelp-TeleCheck system received twice-weekly telephone interviews to provide welfare monitoring and emotional support, and could call in themselves at any time. They could also trigger an alarm device that would respond immediately. The study found that elderly women users were nearly six times less likely to commit suicide than would be expected. By contrast, the difference between actual and expected suicides among men was not significant. An accompanying editorial in the Journal commented that such telephone-based suppo

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