Study finds mental health needs of older adults substantially underserved
The Gerontological Society of America
Individuals aged 65 and older are unlikely to receive needed mental health treatment in the United States, according to a recent national study by researchers at Texas A&M University. Drawing upon data from the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health, the researchers found that older adults were three times less likely than younger adults (individuals aged 18-64) to receive outpatient mental heath care. Only 2.5% of older adults throughout the nation reported utilizing any outpatient mental health treatment in the year prior to the survey, compared to seven percent of younger adults. Although older adults were found to have lower rates of mental illness than their younger counterparts, even those with serious mental illness (SMI) were highly unlikely to receive treatment. Only one in ten older adults with SMI received any outpatient mental health care, a rate substantially lower than that for younger adults.