Initiated by the World Federation of Mental Health, World Mental Health Day on October 10 promotes mental wellness and increases worldwide awareness about mental illness. The WFMH chose mental health in older adults as the annual theme.
Mental illness among older populations is a serious issue, yet less than one quarter of older adults receive any care for their mental health conditions. Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are often written off as an effect of the normal ageing process. Mental illness is never a normal part of ageing. Depression places women at risk for suicide, physical health issues and substance abuse as women isolate and fail to care for themselves.
Depression frequently co-occurs with serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer that can affect older people, the NIMH reports. Because they frequently outlive men, older women also often face issues of grief and bereavement.
The unique emotional challenges faced by older women can lead to substance abuse and mental health issues that require residential treatment. When women isolate or become unable to care for themselves, a serious emotional issue may be present.
Brookhaven Retreat encourages older women suffering from mental health issues to seek help. It believes that by addressing mental health issues in therapy, creating healthy life habits and healing self-esteem, older women create a stable foundation for mental wellness. With the proper tools in hand, women are able to cope with daily stress, contribute to their communities and realize their own potential.