HALF OF ADULTS AGED 55 AND OVER HAVE EXPERIENCED COMMON MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS, SAYS AGE UK
The charity is joining forces with NHS England to encourage older people to seek help and is calling on GPs to spot the warning signs
Nearly half of adults (7.7million) aged 55+ say they have experienced depression and around the same number (7.3 million) have suffered with anxiety, according to new YouGov research for the charity Age UK - revealing the scale of the mental health challenge facing older people in the UK today.
The death of loved ones (36%) ill health of themselves (24%) and financial worries (27%) are the most common triggers for mental health problems, yet worryingly more than a third (35%) say they did not know where to go for help and support. This comes as NHS England has published new guidance - ‘Mental health in older people’ - to help GPs spot the tell-tale signs of anxiety and depression, and identify a range of mental health problems including those which specifically affect older people.
One in 5 (21%) of the people who reported suffering from anxiety or depression said that their symptoms had in fact worsened as they’d got older.
Research indicates feelings of loneliness and isolation could play a major role in the problems older people are facing. Nearly three-quarters of older people (72%) think that having more opportunities to connect with other people (e.g. joining local activity groups) would be the best way to help people who are experiencing mental health problems.
As well as having opportunities to connect with other people, more than a third (35%) felt that talking therapy such as counselling would best help older people with anxiety and depression. Research has found older people respond extremely well to talking therapies; the recovery rates for patients aged over 65 years of age who completed a course of talking therapy through the Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies programme (IAPT) were shown to be positive.
One in 4 older people (25%) said they felt it was more difficult for older people to discuss mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, compared to younger people.
The top reasons given were;
When older people were growing up, society didn't recognise depression or anxiety as a health condition.
Depression and anxiety used to be seen as a weakness, so it's not something the older generation are comfortable discussing.
The older generation were taught to approach life with a "stiff upper lip".
Age UK and NHS England are hoping to encourage older people to seek help and are calling on GPs to spot the warning signs.
For more infrmation visit Your Mind Matters