Mental health – how are you feeling?

Mental health problems such as depression and anxiety affect many older people. This can be frightening and can greatly reduce quality of life. But such problems are not an inevitable part of growing old. You can get support and you can do things to stop them happening.

It is estimated that depression affects 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 or over, and 40% of older people in care homes, yet the Royal College of Psychiatrists has estimated that 85% of older people with depression get no help at all from the NHS. Fewer than one in six older people with depression ever discuss this with their GP.

You are not alone. With so many people going through ‘common’ mental health problems, you may find that if you talk to a friend about it they will tell you that they are going through something similar. It can really help to share your experiences and talk about what helps you and what doesn’t.

You may still feel stigma about mental health problems. But if you don’t tell anyone it can be very difficult for people to know what you’re going through or to offer help. It’s very important to try to ask for help.

Research shows that there are five key issues that can have an impact on the mental wellbeing of older people:

  • discrimination
  • participation in meaningful activities
  • relationships
  • physical health
  • poverty

You can do a lot to limit the negative affect of these issues. BEA can help you through various groups and support.

Your general lifestyle can affect your mental health enormously. Look after yourself in all sorts of ways. If you can eat healthily, be as physically active as you can, get proper sleep and rest and remain mentally active, it will go a long way to protecting your mental wellbeing.

Talk to BEA about how we can help.

Help and support with your mental health

Your GP
You can ask about seeing a therapist; ‘talking treatments’ can be very helpful for many older people. Or it may be effective to take medication, such as anti-depressants.

Keep active
Good physical health really helps how you feel mentally. BEA runs many activities that can help you, including exercise, dance and Zumba. Phone Activities Co-ordinator Debbie if you would like to know more.

Talk to people
As well as talking to your GP about how you’re feeling, it is really important to many people’s mental health to have someone to talk to. If you are unable to take part in BEA groups we run a befriending scheme. Phone Volunteer
Co-ordinator Maureen if you would like to know more.

Information and support

Find support in Leeds
Mindwell Leeds

Mind Infoline
9.00-6.00, Monday-Friday
0300 123 3393

Age UK Advice Line
8.00-7.00, 365 days a year
0800 678 1174

Mind online

Health and wellbeing (Age UK)

How to look after your mental health in later life (Mental Health Foundation)