It’s nearly six years since NDTi published its paper on achieving age equality in mental health services: A Long Time Coming and today’s British Journal of General Practice study on older patients mental health care sadly illustrates the truth of the title. Sam Cooke himself would have good reason to wonder when that “change gonna come”.
We have made more recent efforts to get Older People’s mental health on the agenda. A subsequent round table discussion took place 18 months ago and included people from Mental Health Foundation, NHS England, Age UK and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Four key areas for development were agreed upon;
However, despite the appetite and drive for change, older people’s mental health has still not been given the focus that it needs.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, commented on the study saying: “Mental health issues can affect anyone at any age, and all our patients’ deserve high quality mental health care at every stage of their life…its concerning that as our patients get older they are experiencing greater difficulty in accessing them”
Therefore, we hope that today’s report puts older people back on the mental health agenda and helps us – and others – speed up the change that needs to come.