GPs 'vital' in preventing suicide in older men

“Because GPs are seeing a large proportion of older people… they have a chance to intervene and they have the vital role in terms of where the opportunities are to prevent suicide in later life,” said Dr Roderick McKay, chair of the Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP).

His comments come after the body of an 81-year-old man from Perth – a self-confessed "mercy killer" – was found on a beach. Media reports said police were not treating his death as suspicious. The man was due to be sentenced for killing his wife as part of a mercy suicide pact.

“Men over the age of 75 years have amongst the highest age-specific suicide rate in Australia, and yet there appears no effort to address this,” Dr McKay said.

In an interview with MO he called on GPs to monitor older patients who have had suicidal tendencies, as older men and women were