One in five people over 65 suffer from depression or anxiety, but older people are less likely to get the help they need for their mental health than the rest of the population. In partnership with the charity Age UK, the NHS has launched a new awareness campaign on the benefit of talking therapy for older people.
Depression and anxiety in later life, especially over the age of 65, are often dismissed as a normal part of ageing. While there are often personal or even physical barriers which can prevent older people from accessing talking therapy services, new data released by Age UK suggest that there are also inequalities in referrals to those services.
As part of this campaign, the NHS is encouraging GPs and Improving Access to Talking Therapy (IAPT) services like ours to work jointly to increase referrals for older people with mental health issues. The NHS is also calling on people to start a conversation on mental health with older relatives, so that together we can fight the stigma that depression and anxiety are just a normal part of ageing.
Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for Dementia and Older People’s Mental Health at NHS England and NHS Improvement said:
“Older people sometimes feel they have to have a ‘stiff upper lip’ towards health, but we all have our own battles to fight and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness, so anyone out there who is feeling down and needs help, can and should get it from the NHS.”
If you have something on your mind and you’re not feeling yourself, talking can really help. Click to find one of our NHS talking therapy services.