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Virtual Workshop: Social Disconnection and Late-Life Suicide: Mechanisms, Treatment Targets, and Interventions


Sponsored by:
NIMH Division of Translational Research

Thursday, September 17, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. ET
Friday, September 18, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. ET

About the Workshop:

On September 17 and 18, 2020, join the NIMH Division of Translational Research for a two-day virtual workshop, “Social Disconnection and Late Life Suicide,” which will bring together clinician scientists, behavioral scientists, neuroscientists, geriatric psychiatrists, epidemiologists, and implementation scientists to discuss the current state of the science on social disconnection and suicide. Workshop topics include:

  • the mechanisms by which social disconnection confers risk for suicide in older adulthood,
  • potential treatment targets for future intervention development, and
  • opportunities for and obstacles to effective implementation of interventions to address and prevent late-life suicide.


Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. In late adulthood, suicide rates are higher than in any other age group and have risen more than 40% in the past 10 years.  Social disconnection – a term which refers to either objective social isolation, perceived social isolation (otherwise known as loneliness), or the co-presence of both – is one of the primary risk factors for a suicidal attempt.  It is at its highest levels in late adulthood and is one of the primary motivators of self-harm in older adults. As the American population rapidly ages – over 20% of the population will be over the age of 65 by 2030 – there is an urgent need to advance mechanistic understanding of the link between social disconnection and suicide risk, to identify treatment targets for promising interventions to address social disconnection and suicide in late-life, and to elucidate barriers to and achievements in implementing interventions and providing services to socially disconnected older adults contemplating suicide. 


  • Martha Bruce, Ph.D., MPH, Professor of Psychiatry and of Community and Family Medicine at The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice
  • Yeates Conwell, M.D., Professor and Vice Chair, Co-Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide and Director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Program of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester

Registration: Please register online to attend this free event.