Mental health issues of older adults can go beyond depression

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Esti Alvarez via Flickr

Photo: Esti Alvarez via Flickr

The National Council on Aging defines mental disorders as “health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behavior (or some combination thereof), associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.”

As the U.S. population ages, the need for mental and behavioral health services is increasing. Addressing and treating mental and behavioral health problems is especially important for older adults living in underserved communities, and for those living in poverty, according to the American Psychological Association.

Recent studies indicate that about one-fifth of adults age 65 and older met the APA criteria for a mental disorder (including dementia) over the prior 12 months. While many older adults suffer from depression anxiety and mood disorders also are common. This new tip sheet can help guide your reporting on this issue.


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