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, visit the mental health treatment provider search.
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 866-243-5678.
If you are in crisis and need immediate help, please call 800-273-8255.
Tips for Healthy Aging
From the National Council on Aging:
- Stay active
- Eat healthy
- Be social
- Exercise your brain
- Ohio Department of Aging
This department provides services to people ages 60+ through eleven area agencies on aging, which employ nurses, social workers and other staff. Since 1976, millions of Ohioans have saved more than $2 billion dollars by using their Golden Buckeye Card, which is honored at over 20,000 businesses. Residents of Ohio age 60 and older, and adults who are receiving SSI/SSDI for disabilities, qualify for a Golden Buckeye Card. One benefit of using this card, is potential prescription drug savings on many medications used to treat depression and anxiety.
- Ohio Network of Care
The Ohio Network of Care provides information about Ohio behavioral health and senior services and national resources.
- Adult Protective Services
County departments of job and family services are mandated to investigate and evaluate all reports of suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults age 60 and over. Adults who experience abuse, neglect or exploitation are offered supportive services, as available, for protection and self-sufficiency.
- Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation
This foundation is a catalyst to eliminating the stigma attached to suicide, mental illness, substance abuse and addiction. Their mission is to promote suicide prevention as a public health issue and advance evidence-based awareness, intervention and methodology strategies which will support all Ohio-based suicide prevention efforts. Suicide is a major public health problem that kills 1,200 Ohioans each year, with an average of three deaths per day.