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Depression Health Center

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Murder-suicides in Elderly Rise

Husbands commit most murder-suicides -- without wives' consent.

Getting Help

Cohen urges adult children to come right out and ask a parent if he has thought about suicide or homicide-suicide. "Don't worry about giving them ideas," says Cohen. If the answer is yes, ask them about their plans. The more detailed the plans are, the more likely they'll be carried through, she says.

If you believe there is a risk for homicide-suicide in your family, call a suicide crisis center, a suicide hotline, a family physician, a psychiatric or medical emergency room, or a community mental health center. And if there is a gun in the house, remove it. Cohen notes that areas of the country where gun laws are stricter, such as the northeast, have much lower homicide-suicide rates than those where firearms are more easily available.

"People think about killing themselves or their partner for weeks, months, even years," she says. "Be alert to signs of depression and get help quickly."

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