Mental Health and Older Adults

Mental Health and Older Adults Continued intellectual, social and physical activity are important for the maintenance of mental health later in life. Normal aging is not characterized by mental or cognitive disorders. Luckily, effective interventions are available for most mental disorders experienced by older adults.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) addresses the behavioral health needs of older adults through collaboration with other state agencies, boards, providers, families and consumers.

Depression and Aging

Depression and anxiety are frequently unreported and untreated in people age 65 and older. Depression is often mistaken as a symptom of a physical condition. According to the Surgeon General, symptoms of depression include low energy, lack of concentration, difficulty in/sleeping too much, reduced interest in hobbies, increased or decreased appetite, feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of suicide. Older adults who are most at risk for depression often have had major changes in their lives, including death of a significant other, a diagnosis of a physical illness or loss of independence. Substance abuse can also contribute to depression. Depression is treatable with medication and psychosocial interventions. (Source: Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General). If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, browse our interactive map of providers.


People over the age of 65 are among those at the highest risk for suicide. Caucasian males over the age of 85 are at the highest risk of any age group. Community, state and national agencies have joined forces to try to offer preventive and supportive strategies that can help older adults. Healthy lifestyle programs like Healthy U are offered in communities statewide through the Ohio Department of Aging and local Area Agencies on Aging. These programs offer depression screenings and approaches to managing not only depression and anxiety but also chronic disease. To learn more, call 1-866-243-5678.

If you are in crisis and need immediate help, please call 1-800-273-8255.