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Mental Health of Older Persons


UNECE Policy Brief on Ageing No. 29

A significant portion of older individuals experience mental disorders. Yet, these often go unnoticed and untreated, being overlooked as normal ageing or overshadowed by other health issues. This is especially true for older women, those with lower socio-economic status, and long-term care facility residents. To effectively promote and protect the mental health of older adults, addressing the treatment gap and the negative impacts on individuals and their families is crucial. This policy brief outlines the determinants and prevalence of mental health issues among older adults in the UNECE region and features concrete policy strategies and examples aimed at improving mental health of older persons from across the UNECE region. The policy examples featured in the brief include measures to eliminate stigma, improve mental health literacy and combat ageism. They also include measures aimed at prevention and early detection, tackling psychosocial challenges and supporting older persons during challenging life events. Furthermore, the brief includes policy examples for integrating mental health services into care, improving access to treatment, protecting mental health in emergencies, and enhancing research and data collection.