A new open-access piece in History of Psychiatry may interest AHP readers: “Attempted suicide in older people in New South Wales, Australia, 1870–1908,” Brian Draper. Abstract:
This study examines attempted suicide in older people between 1870 and 1908 in (NSW), Australia. Statistical Registers of NSW indicate persons aged 60+ had disproportionately high rates of apprehension (10.9%) and conviction (13.0%) for attempted suicide. Newspaper reports of 110 suicide attempts in older people indicate that alcohol misuse, poor health, depression, being tired of living, financial problems, relationship difficulties, loss events and insanity were the main issues. Most were treated compassionately with medical care and support, albeit sometimes in a gaol setting. Medical casebooks of persons aged 60+ years with suicide attempts (n = 49) or suicidal ideation (n = 43) admitted to hospitals for the insane indicated that over 75% were psychotic and 50% had melancholia.