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Depression in older people goes untreated, says report

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The NHS must do more to support older people who are suffering from depression, according to a report.

In its document ‘Undiagnosed, untreated, at risk’, Age Concern has published a plan to help combat the problem.

It accused some GPs of having ‘ageist’ attitudes that prevent older people with depression from receiving the help they need.

They also need better training to enable them to recognise symptoms and the GP contract needs to be altered to incentivise the identification and treatment of depression in all patients, according to the report.

Mental health services should be commissioned to combat the problem and ‘insulting, ageist’ rules preventing older people from getting treatment should be removed, Age Concern added.

Older people have limited access psychological therapies compared with younger people – even though NICE has recommended older people should have access to them.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Working as a community nurse with older people, I feel strongly that this group is actively discriminated against when it comes to mental health issues, be it dementia or depression. The GP has few available resources, so prescribing anti-depressant medication is about all he has to offer. Due to pressure of time, these patients are seldom followed up and monitored as often as they should be, consequently, concordance is poor & the therapeutic value is limited.

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