Despite the attention given to preventing teen suicides, studies find the suicide rate in Iowa –and nationwide– is highest for people 65 and older, especially for white men 85 and over. A University of Iowa study is looking into the causes of depression in the elderly — and ways to prevent it. Erika Holm is a researcher in the U-of-I psychiatry department.
Holm says, "We are interested in emotion processing and late-life depression and the different ways that depression can be presented in people of an older age versus younger age." She says their research has found that more than half of older suicide victims saw a physician within a month of their death, which indicates depression could be overlooked and underdetected.
Holm says, "Older people sometimes do not report feeling sad or losing interest in things, which are two symptoms that are required for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, so we are studying why that is." Volunteers in the Iowa City area are still needed to take part in the study. For more information on the study, call Holm at (319) 353-8514 or e-mail her at "[email protected]".