Epidemiology of suicidal ideation and help-seeking behaviors among the elderly in Japan

Yutaka Ono, Eriko Tanaka, Hiroshi Oyama, Keiko Toyokawa, Takeshi Koizumi, Kiku Shinohe, Kyoko Satoh, Emiko Nishizuka, Harue Kominato, Kenji Nakamura, Kimio Yoshimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


This study offers an analysis of the elderly (over 65 years of age) among a general community population in terms of the percentages of: (i) persons with recurring thoughts of death and/or of committing suicide, and (ii) people who have consulted others, including medical professionals, with regard to these problems. Among 433 elderly over the age of 65 in one community in a town in Aomori Prefecture, 358 agreed to participate in the project. Forty-four participants (12.3%) responded that they had either 'thoughts of death' or 'thoughts of suicide', and these thoughts had continued for more than 2 weeks in 12 participants (3.4%). Only 15 of the 44 suicidal elderly responded that they had consulted someone about their problems. Although there are many elderly people exhibiting a subclinical depressive state with recurring thoughts of death or thoughts of suicide, the number of people who consult family members, professionals, or others is very low. This suggests the importance of community networking through educational activities so that people can more readily talk to and support one another.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-610
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Elderly
  • Help-seeking behavior
  • Japan
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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