Published on: 29th July 2020

Our Healthy Minds services have seen a significant drop in over 65s contacting them, since the start of the covid-19 pandemic; prompting concerns that older people are not seeking the mental health support they need.

We're encouraging older people to still seek mental health support, where needed, as evidence shows increased levels of anxiety in this age group.

Between March and May 2020, our Healthy Minds services have seen a 66 percent drop in people aged over 65 (equivalent to 526 fewer people), compared to the same time last year.

A recent Office of National Statistics report on anxiety and covid-19 also shows that, while before the pandemic people in this age group consistently showed lower anxiety levels, they are now showing the highest levels of anxiety.

Polly Kaiser, consultant clinical psychologist, said: “Older people have experience and resilience and have many roles; including as care givers, volunteers and community leaders.

“However covid-19 presents particular risks and challenges for older people, and it is no wonder that anxiety levels are high. They report high levels of stress and anxiety, about the immediate effects of the virus and the longer term impact on their lives.

“Physical distancing can take a huge toll on all our mental health. If you are older and have been shielding you have not been able to access your usual support mechanisms; for example family, friends, grandchildren, clubs, gym, choir, volunteering options. If you live alone and are more digitally excluded than others, then the risks to mental health are even higher.”

It's estimated that more than 22,500 people, aged over 65, are living with depression or anxiety across Bury, Rochdale*, Tameside, Oldham and Stockport - where Healthy Minds* is based.

Dr Sheena Aspil, clinical psychologist at Healthy Minds said: “Throughout this pandemic we have continued to offer vital mental health support through video and telephone consultations, as well as digital online therapies.

“While we recognise that some older people may feel they are unable to access our services digitally; our research shows that those who have done so tend to do very well, often reaching recovery and making some significant life improvements.

“We want anybody who may be struggling, or who have friends and family members who may need help at this current time, to know we are still here to offer help, support and advice.”

Our Healthy Minds services provids short-term psychological therapies to people suffering from anxiety, depression and stress. Click here for more info and to refer yourself.

*In Rochdale the service is called Thinking Ahead and is run by the Big Life Group.