Published On: 5 March 2024Tags: , , ,
Older people are too often overlooked and excluded from mental health support, according to a new briefing by Centre for Mental Health 

Mental health in later life, commissioned by Age UK, says that ageism and discrimination stop older people from accessing support, with poor mental health often dismissed by health professionals as an ‘inevitable’ part of getting older.

Research shows that 75% of people aged 65+ have experienced significant anxiety or low mood at least once since turning 65, with depression affecting 40% of older people in care homes. The briefing says that too often, older people aren’t offered support – for example, older people are less likely to be offered NHS Talking Therapies even though their recovery rates are better than for other age groups.

The briefing finds that older people face barriers to mental health support at every level: from being disregarded by professionals to facing a lack of specialist services and being overlooked by national and local mental health strategies in England.

Mental health in later life finds that older people face some specific risks to their mental health, including caring responsibilities, multiple bereavements, living with increased frailty and a heightened risk of neurodegenerative conditions like dementia. But they are often met with a pessimism that normalises poor mental health and stops them seeking or being offered help.

The briefing says that, with an ageing population who are living with physical and neurodegenerative conditions for longer, there is a pressing need to tackle ageist assumptions and improve mental health support for older people.

Read the briefing here.