- Your resource for information on Mental Health and Aging
- Is an Educational network to raise awareness of older adult behavioral health issues
- Is an Advocacy network, both statewide and national
- Is pro-active and consistently challenges both stigma and ageism
- Brings people, ideas and resources together
Behavioral health is defined as a state of mental and emotional well-being and/or choices and actions affecting wellness. Problems such as depression, substance abuse, medication misuse, addictions and suicidal thoughts are not a normal part of aging and may result in a loss of independence, the worsening of chronic disease symptoms, social isolation and premature death.
Mental health changes in individuals over age 60 are often linked to physical disorders such as heart attack and stroke. Other factors including metabolic changes, medication interactions, infections, personal losses, isolation and situational changes are also associated with mental health changes.
More than one in four Americans over age 60 will experience a clinically significant change in their thinking or emotions. Many seniors are diagnosed for the first time as they age with conditions such as depression, anxiety, and dementia. The risk of depression is highest for older adults with chronic medical conditions like stroke, diabetes or heart disease.
Major anxiety and mood disorders can lead to a decreased quality of life and contribute to social isolation, loss of independence and suicide.
Older adults have one of the highest rates of suicide. From 2011-2015, the rate of suicide for 65+ was more than 20% higher than the rate of suicide for the general population. During that time, the rate of suicide for while men 85+ was 4 times the rate of the general population.
About 17% of older adults 50+ have problems with alcohol and other substances.
A behavioral health disorder like depression IS NOT a normal part of aging.
Recovery has no age limit. Older adults often recover at rates that are higher than younger people.