Methods: This scoping review was conducted following the Arksey & O’Malley six-stage framework, including identifying research question, identifying relevant studies, study selection, charting data, summarizing and reporting data, and consultation (Arksey & O’Malley, 2005). A search of seven electronic databases, and manual review of reference lists and key suicide- and gerontology-focused journals was conducted. Articles were reviewed independently by two researchers to screen for eligibility based on title, abstract, and full-text. Results from the included studies were summarized qualitatively.
Results: A total of 4,394 articles were retrieved during the initial search, of which 43 articles were screened at full-text. A total of 25 articles were selected for analysis. To address the first research question, patterns of help-seeking behaviors (e.g. use of specialized care and alternative pathways of care) were identified and discussed. The review further identified the promoting factors (e.g. mental health literacy and safety planning) and barriers (e.g. stigma, attitude, shame, help negation, and access to help) to the use of help-seeking behaviors among middle and old age adults with suicidal ideations from the included studies.
Conclusions and Implications: This review provides a mapping of existing literature on the patterns and correlates of suicide help-seeking behaviors. Future research directions and practice implications were discussed to better understand and address this critical issue among the vulnerable population.