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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 139-140

Aiming to restore mental health among older adults: A loud cry

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication17-Mar-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.178863

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Aiming to restore mental health among older adults: A loud cry. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2016;2:139-40

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Aiming to restore mental health among older adults: A loud cry. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 Nov 22];2:139-40. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2016/2/2/139/178863

Dear Editor,

Globally, a significant demographic transition has been observed according to the recent estimates released by the World Health Organization.[1] In fact, keeping the current trend in mind, it has been expected that by the year 2050, the proportion of the world's population over 60 years will almost be 2 billion, which is currently 900 million.[1] These extra years of life have not only opened numerous opportunities for older persons but even created a wide range of challenges for the stakeholders so that, diversified needs of the older people is addressed.[1],[2] However, to ensure that people live these extra years in a meaningful and dignified manner, the key factor is the maintenance of an optimal state of health (viz., physical, mental, and social elements).[2]

Even though, older adults can play major contributions (as a responsible member of family, volunteer, member of the workforce, etc.) in the progress of society, most of them might experience multiple ailments, including mental illnesses at the same time.[3],[4] Like any other phase in human life, sound mental health is a crucial determinant to ensure well-being among older adults.[1],[2] In fact, it has been observed that in excess of one-fifths of adults aged 60 and above worldwide is suffering from a mental or neurological illness, which on their accounts for almost 7 percent of all disability among older adults. Multiple mental illnesses such as dementia, depression (7 percent), anxiety disorders (3.8 percent), substance abuse (1 percent), and suicides have been reported among older adults.[3] Further, most of these estimates do not reflect a clear picture, as these illnesses are overlooked by older adults themselves/family members/health professionals or misdiagnosed or often not reported due to the stigma attributed to them.[5],[6]

These mental illnesses precipitate due to a complex interaction between multiple social, psychological, and biological factors, namely the inability to live independently (because of restricted mobility, other physical, or mental ailments), exposure to various kinds of deprivations due to loss of income secondary to their retirement, children staying away from their parents, and subject to different forms of abuse.[2],[3],[5] Almost, all of these factors can eventually precipitate isolation, loneliness, and psychological distress in older people.[3] Further, these mental illnesses can further enhance the risk or progression of other physical health ailments, which further compromises their independence.[3],[5]

Acknowledging the importance of a sound state of mental health among older adults, it is extremely important to ensure that they have an easy access to the necessary resources (viz., housing, medical care, financial support, healthy environment, etc.) desired to meet their basic demands.[2] In addition, other interventions like formulating effective strategies to meet their diversified needs of older people, devising a comprehensive strategy to reduce the risk of elder abuse, integrating mental health care with primary health care at all possible levels, implementing measures to ensure their freedom and security, strengthening of the social supportive services, involving members of community by creating awareness among them about the importance of mental health in older adults, sensitizing health professionals on the need of early detection and prompt treatment of mental/neurological illnesses and substance abuse, and exploring the scope of appropriate legislative measures to ensure their dignity, can be implemented for the welfare of older adults.[2],[3],[4]

To conclude, a sound state of mental health among older adults will not only ensure healthy ageing but even enables them to enjoy their life for a longer period of time. Thus, it is the responsibility of all the concerned stakeholders to work in an integrated manner and play their respective parts to restore the mental health of older adults.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Ageing and Health – Fact Sheet No. 404; 2015. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs404/en/. [Last accessed on 2015 Nov 19].  Back to cited text no. 1
Parkar SR. Elderly mental health: Needs. Mens Sana Monogr 2015;13:91-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
World Health Organization. Mental Health and Older Adults – Fact Sheet No. 381; 2015. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs381/en/. [Last accessed on 2015 Nov 08].  Back to cited text no. 3
Oh DJ, Park JY, Oh M, Kim K, Hong J, Kim T, et al. Suicidality-based prediction of suicide attempts in a community-dwelling elderly population: Results from the Osan mental health survey. J Affect Disord 2015;184:286-92.  Back to cited text no. 4
Bor JS. Among the elderly, many mental illnesses go undiagnosed. Health Aff (Millwood) 2015;34:727-31.  Back to cited text no. 5
Park JE, Cho SJ, Lee JY, Sohn JH, Seong SJ, Suk HW, et al. Impact of stigma on use of mental health services by elderly Koreans. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 2015;50:757-66.  Back to cited text no. 6


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