Tens of thousands of people over the age of 65 are being denied access to specialist mental health services because of ‘arbitrary’ age limits, the Royal College of Psychiatrists says.
The report, published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, suggests that older people missing out on vital support and risking serious deterioration in their mental health.
Over-65s are also denied access to a range of services available to younger adults, including psychological therapies, early intervention, rehabilitation and addiction services.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists has called on mental health services to abolish the arbitrary age limit on adult mental health services.
Dr Dave Anderson, chair of the College’s Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry, said: “If we are to meet the pressing challenge of an ageing population we must remove the barrier that is age discrimination. There is no justifiable reason why an older person with the same need as a younger person is denied equitable mental health care, yet that is the current position.”
But Dr Anderson warned: “If services are to be provided on the basis of need not age, we must guarantee that the different needs of older people are understood and addressed by services specially designed to meet that need. If this doesn’t happen, age discrimination will continue in another guise. Equality is not achieved by treating all people in the same way but by respecting their differences. We believe this policy statement provides positive action and a responsible solution to this very important problem.”