OAP de­pres­sion rate is re­vealed

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P“Pen­sion­ers need to make sure they pri­ori­tise their men­tal health – and not just phys­i­cal con­di­tions – when vis­it­ing their GP. They may find that at the end of their ap­point­ment they haven’t even touched on their men­tal health at all.

“It’s im­por­tant that we change at­ti­tudes to­wards men­tal health in older peo­ple be­cause it isn’t just some­thing that af­fects younger peo­ple.

“Cog­ni­tive be­havioural ther­a­pies can help peo­ple with de­pres­sion, but alarm­ingly we’ve found that the Im­prov­ing Ac­cess to Psy­cho­log­i­cal Ther­a­pies pro­gramme, which aims to refer 12% of pen­sion­ers on to treat­ment is ac­tu­ally re­fer­ring just 6% of pen­sion­ers.

“One of the rea­sons for that could be be­cause pen­sion­ers might have mo­bil­ity is­sues which restrict them trav­el­ling to treat­ment.

“Older peo­ple with men­tal health con­cerns can re­search MindEd, which helps to ed­u­cate about men­tal health in pen­sion­ers.”

BY JAMIE LOPEZ AND ALICE CACHIA jamie.lopez@reach­plc.com @jamie_lopez1

ENSIONERS in South­port and Formby are di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion more than once a week, alarm­ing fig­ures have re­vealed.Ac­cord­ing to NHS data, there were 84 new di­ag­noses of the men­tal ill­ness in peo­ple aged 65 and over in in 2016/17.The data does not re­veal the to­tal num­ber of pen­sion­ers who were re­ceiv­ing treat­ment for de­pres­sion, just new cases di­ag­nosed within the year.Be­cause of this – and the fact that it is likely that there are more peo­ple in our area who are yet to seek help – the true num­ber of older peo­ple liv­ing with de­pres­sion will be far higher than the data shows.Symp­toms of de­pres­sion can in­clude a lack of in­ter­est and in­abil­ity to en­joy things, feel­ing tired, be­ing re­luc­tant to en­gage in usual ac­tiv­i­ties or leave the house, and los­ing or gain­ing weight over a short pe­riod of time.In Mersey­side over­all, there were 711 pen­sion­ers di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion in 2016/17 – a rate of nearly two a day.Of this, 386 were men and 325 were women.Ac­cord­ing to Age UK, lon­li­ness has been shown to heighten feel­ings of de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety, and vul­ner­a­bil­ity.The char­ity says that de­pres­sion in older life can be trig­gered by be­reave­ment, re­tire­ment, and hous­ing is­sues, among other things.In fact, char­ity In­de­pen­dent Age says that more than one in three peo­ple aged 75 and older ex­pe­ri­ence feel­ings of lone­li­ness out of their con­trol. In Eng­land and Wales, one in ev­ery eight house­holds is oc­cu­pied by a pen­sioner liv­ing alone.Joel Lewis, of Age UK, said: “We know that lone­li­ness and be­reave­ment are mas­sive fac­tors in pen­sion­ers de­pressed.“Of­ten pen­sion­ers are full­time car­ers for fam­ily mem­bers which can be iso­lat­ing in it­self, and when pen­sion­ers stop work­ing they can also feel lonely. Fi­nan­cial is­sues from a get­ting lack of a job can also be a cause of de­pres­sion.“The chance of get­ting de­pres­sion is seven times greater in peo­ple with two or more chronic health prob­lems, which older peo­ple are more likely to have. De­pres­sion is an is­sue for many el­derly peo­ple

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