Many older people shrug off anxiety and depression instead of seeking help
A campaign is encouraging people over 65 to seek treatment for anxiety and depression after a survey showed they feel they should ‘just get on with it’
A campaign is encouraging over 65s to seek treatment for anxiety and depression after a survey showed they feel they should ‘just get on with it’
More than 60% of people aged 65 or older in the UK have experienced depression and anxiety, according to a survey by Age UK.
More than half of those affected did not seek help as they thought they should ‘just get on with it’, the charity said. The findings have led Age UK and NHS England to launch a campaign encouraging older people to seek treatment for mental health conditions.
Age UK director Caroline Abrahams said: ‘Without targeted action to support older people as a distinct group, they are at risk of being left further behind when it comes to mental health.’
As part of the campaign, GPs will be encouraged to look out for mental health symptoms in older people.
NHS England and NHS Improvement national clinical director for dementia and older people’s mental health Alistair Burns said therapy such as talking therapies can be good for the mind and body, as mental health and physical problems are linked.
People over 65 may have grown up in an era when a stigma was associated with mental illness
Of the 1,210 older people surveyed, only 13% said they put their mental health before their physical health.
Ms Abrahams at Age UK said a recent drive promoting mental health may not have resonated with people over 65 because they grew up in an era when there was stigma associated with mental illness. ‘For many, these attitudes are deeply engrained and still driving their behaviour today.’
She added that older people often conclude that feeling depressed or anxious are not illnesses and do not warrant a medical response in the way a physical problem would.
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