Mental health in older Australians

With growing awareness centred around mental health, it's more important than ever to understand the needs of those who are at risk of mental health issues, and what we can do about it. Some of the common causes of mental health issues in older Australians include:

  • Physical illnesses
  • Frailty and loss of independence
  • Grief and loss
  • Financial stress
  • Changing living arrangements
  • Increasing social isolation
  • Memory loss

What signs should you be looking out for?

Though signs of mental health problems can vary from person to person, these are some of the more common early signs you can look out for in your loved ones or neighbour:

  • Feeling sad or crying for no apparent reason
  • Having trouble concentrating or remembering things
  • Feeling unusually stressed or worried
  • Not enjoying nor wanting to be involved in things that you normally enjoy
  • Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns
  • Feeling irritable or having problems with friends and family for no reason
  • Feeling distracted or trouble concentrating
  • Having negative, distressing, bizarre or unusual thoughts

Let's start the conversation

Be it an older family member, friend or neighbour, having a conversation is a good place to start to see how they are doing. Showing concern and offering support in itself can make a huge difference.

As always, it's important to seek professional help if you believe someone you know is experiencing difficulties. Encouraging them to see a GP can lead to more specialised support and personalised care.

Let's not forget, it's important to look after yourself too, so understanding depression and anxiety may be a good starting point to help you understand what you may be going through.

For immediate information and support, call beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or LifeLine on 13 11 14.