We’re delighted to share our new think piece called ‘Positive Mental Health: How we break down the barriers for our older generation’.

You can’t have failed to see the increase in attention on mental health issues across the country as councils, educators, health services, etc are being asked to do more to support children and young adults with mental health problems.

This is a tremendous step forward in our nation’s recognition and action on such an important issue. While much of the focus is on the mental health of younger generations, consider older people too, not only do they experience stress factors common to all people but also factors more common in later life like managing multiple long term conditions that can lead to a loss in capacity and a deterioration in functional ability.

One in four people aged over 65 live with depression and 40% of people aged 85 or over live with debilitating depression that affects their ability to engage in daily activities and prevents them from being able to participate in community life.

At Community Connectors we support people in Glasgow over the age of 60 and their mental health is an important part of our work. This thought piece is designed to share some of the approaches we have found to be successful in helping people access the right support at the right time.

At the heart of our work is a focus on creating meaningful conversations that help people consider their options and deepen their understanding of mental health as well as the support and strategies that can enable them to live the life they want.

“Good mental health is fundamental to thriving in life.

It is the essence of who we are and how we experience the world. “

– The Mental Health Foundation

Current service provision

The third sector in Glasgow has lots of great support services where innovative, person centred work is being done around mental health and wellbeing and we work with them regularly to access support for older people but there are gaps and barriers to accessing support.

Recognising the challenge

For every 100 people with depression, only 50 seek treatment and only 25 are diagnosed. 

Evidence tells us that older people not only benefit from psychological therapies but are actually more likely to engage with and complete the process than people of working age. The challenge lies in getting older people to these services, especially statutory support where the process can present barriers for some.

Our colleagues in Primary Care Mental Health report consistently low referral rates for people aged over 65 to psychological therapies which doesn’t accurately reflect the need that we know exists within the community.

So, with support available, what are the barriers to accessing these resources?

This introduction is only a sample of our larger piece where we talk more about our insights from working with older adults experiencing mental health challenges and the approaches we’ve found to be successful in helping address those challenges. Read the full piece here.