Most of the time, we only focus on our physical health. We focus on the way our body works (or not works when we are sick) and the physical signs and symptoms we feel when our immune defenses go down. Many of us fail to see that our mental health needs as much attention and care as our physical body does. There are various stresses that put a strain on our mental health that can make us lose our focus and become anxious or depressed if we are unable to cope with the problems we are facing. Many times other people discredit what and how you feel because they don’t give importance to human emotions and state of mental health as much as they do about physiological health.
Whether you are young or old, there are mental issues that you would face throughout your lifetime. Sometimes, a simple insecurity can cause you to become anxious and depressed over time. And with the way the world is going nowadays, people are becoming more disconnected without good help, even if technology has bridged the distance between nations and people can connect with virtually anyone on the planet through social networks. Isolation is always one thing that messes up people’s mind. On top of that, there is bullying. There’s a new platform now, though, where people are bullied on the web and they feel even more helpless that makes them more depressed than ever.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging, the most common mental health concerns of older adults are anxiety, severe cognitive impairment and depression. In fact, adults over the age of 65 have the highest rate of suicide in the United States, with depression being the most prevalent risk factor.
For many Americans, struggling with a mental illness is an issue that can be very challenging to deal with, especially with the costs associated with therapy sessions, and the stress that can come with finding a recommended professional. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five Americans experiences mental illness every year, with nearly 60 percent of not receiving mental health services in the past year, and 50 percent not doing so because of cost, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
However, there are various local resources for aging adults available within the greater Houston area, many of which can come at little to no cost.
Your mental health will likely deteriorate as you age. Most people consider it as a normal part of aging. However, it should not be the case. Depression is depression regardless of how old you are. Unfortunately, older people fail to receive treatment because what they go through is perceived as something normal and should not warrant medical attention. It’s sad, though, that they have to suffer deep inside when depression is actually but normal and also easily treatable. With all the changes happening to an older person’s life not only with their bodies but their living arrangements, it is easy for them to feel lost and anxious most of the time. Yet, it is not an excuse to allow them to suffer in silence when something can be done about their condition.
Further, mental health services may be underutilized by older patients as they may be in denial, may not have adequate insurance coverage, or their other physical chronic conditions may take precedence during a primary care visit, leaving their mental health unchecked.
“I think that time is an issue for practitioners,” says Eric Weakly, chief of state and community programs for the western branch of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“If you’re coming and you only have maybe 15 minutes, and you have a person who has multiple chronic conditions – they may be presented with cardiac conditions or diabetes or other things – of the list of conditions, depression, anxiety or another mental illness may not be first on the list when they’re doing their screens,” Weakly, a social worker, continues.
The problem why older people often get depressed is because they don’t have access to mental health care. They usually suffer from a lot of other medical conditions but they are rarely assessed or get treated for their mental health issues. Getting older is not entirely a bad thing as it is a gift to be able to celebrate your birthday every single year. Yet, misconceptions and the poor geriatric mental health care facilities, policies, and practices have made it difficult for older adults to age gracefully. Suicide becomes a common thing as some geriatric people are unable to cope with all the changes they are going through and just simply want to put an end to their suffering. Organizations are doing something now about this and extends help to ensure that the mental health of older adults are not overlooked and they get the support they need whenever the need arises.