Older people, like the wider population, may well experience mental health issues, these may be long standing acknowledged mental health conditions such as bi polar disorder or schizophrenia or more recent development such as depression related to chronic conditions or bereavement. Annually one in four people will experience mental health needs and depression or apathy are not a normal part of the ageing process. Older people can find access to services difficult and nurses, in any area, are well placed to identify the impact of mental health difficulties and sign post or support people to access the help they need. Increasingly the divisions between mental and physical health services are being bridged and the multi-professional nature of care for older people means we all need to be well versed in working in a collaborative way to act to improve mental wellbeing.
Nurses should be skilled in recognising the effects of mental health issues on the lives of individuals and help them to gain the most benefit from health and social care services. These pages provide access to key documents that help us work together to identify and support people who need assistance with mental health difficulties.
In addition to reducing the impact of mental health problems on daily activities it is important that we also support people in preventative strategies. See: Supporting healthy ageing.