West Roxbury Transcript: Addressing Elderly Mental Health Needs
January 25, 2014
There is a growing “silent crisis” among the elderly of undiagnosed and untreated mental health conditions that often spiral into other health problems and housing difficulties, according to social workers, legal services attorneys, and elder advocates.
Elderly individuals across Massachusetts are not getting services they need either because services are unavailable or older people shy away from seeking help because of stigmas attached to mental illnesses, according to several advocates who work with the elderly. Social workers told lawmakers recently they are seeing increased rates of depression and suicide – particularly among white men.
“Most seniors, the vast majority, are falling through the cracks in terms of mental health services,” said Dale Mitchell, executive director at Ethos, a nonprofit aging services organization in Jamaica Plain. AgeWell West Roxbury is an Ethos-sponsored initiative that promotes the development of an age-friendly community and the creation of successful aging- in-place strategies for the Boston neighborhood with the highest concentration and highest absolute number of elders.