Why older people with depression are less likely to be referred for treatment

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  • A study has found that older people with depression are less likely to be referred for treatment.

    New research by SunLife found that only 6 per cent of older people with depression currently end up being referred to mental health services, while with younger people up 50 per cent of sufferers end up being referred.

    And the study found that one of biggest reasons for older people’s mental health problems was that they were lonely.

    According to the research, 25 per cent of those aged 55 or over are lonely at times while nearly a third a lonely all of the time.

    MORE: What to do if coronavirus anxiety is affecting your mental health

    One in 12 also said that they have become lonelier since passing their 50th birthdays.

    The research found that 19 per cent of people over 50 live alone while the number rises to more than a quarter for those over 65 years old.

    “Our research shows that the older we get, the more prone we can become to emotional and mental well-being challenges,” said Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife.

    older people depression less likely mental health treatment

    Research found that 19 per cent of over 50s live alone (Credit: Getty)

    “This is because there are a number of changes in life that can have an impact such as children leaving home and stopping working, as well as the fact that people over 50 are less likely to talk about how they’re feeling and therefore less likely to get the help and support they need.

    “As we get older there are lots of things we can do to help our mental well-being, such as ensuring we are doing enough physical activity, eating well, getting enough sleep and creating opportunities to connect with other people.

    MORE: Why the NHS is prescribing books to help with mental health

    “Our blog – It’s time to talk about mental health, explains more about mental health in older age, with advice about how to spot that you or someone you know may be struggling, and what older people can do to improve their mental health.”

    If you are in need of mental health advice visit the NHS website for guidance.

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