For the first time ever in the U.K, the year 2007 saw the population of those over 65, rise above the population of under 16’s. This figure is expected to rise by up to 15% over the next 10 years.
Despite the over 65’s making up an increasingly large percentage of our population, figures show that for every 1 million older people suffering with depression, 850,000 receive no treatment. This shocking figure highlights findings from a Royal College of Psychiatrists report which revealed that thousands of over 65’s are missing out on treatment.
The Healthcare commissions recent audit found that out of every 1300 referrals, only 49 were over 65 and whilst 50% of young adults are referred to mental health services, only 6% of older people will receive on.
One of the main problems is that most people highlight dementia as the main healthcare problem that the older generation are facing. Of course it is essential that we continue to invest and develop dementia care but it actually only accounts for 20-25% of the conditions they suffer, with mental health affecting three times as many.
Another notable fact is that over the past few years, deaths by suicide in young people have declined, whereas deaths by suicide in older people has not, with over 80% of them being associated with depression.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists believes all mental health services should be provided to people on the basis of need and not age. It is essential that we develop mental health care to the stage where older people have full access to the services available, regardless of their age.