Characteristics of Elderly Suicides in Ghana

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Abstract

A major gap in the extant research literature on suicide in Ghana is lack of a systematic study of patterns and trends in elderly suicides. To address the lack of scholarship on the topic, this exploratory, descriptive study presents the results of an epidemiological analysis of 40 media-reported suicides involving persons aged 60 years and older during the 2005–2016 period. Key findings are that the vast bulk of elderly persons who died by suicide were male, aged 60 to 65 years old, and of low income. The most common suicide methods were hanging and shooting with a firearm. Reasons for dying by suicide included lack of financial wherewithal, indebtedness, cuckoldry, sexual dysfunction, grief after the death of a spouse, and marital breakdown. A secondary aim of the research was to sensitize the Ghanaian public, medical services, and government about the extent, nature, and patterns of suicidal behavior in the elderly population. At present, many people in Ghana are not aware of elderly suicides as a social problem. For stakeholders, the findings of this study can assist in the design and implementation of policies and programs to alleviate the problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-24
Number of pages22
JournalOmega (United States)
Volume82
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

Keywords

  • Ghana
  • death
  • elderly
  • elderly suicide
  • suicide

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