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Mental health services are failing the elderly, says Age UK

THOUSANDS of older people are likely to be living with depression and anxiety but are less likely than younger groups to receive the support they need, Age UK has warned.

In 2020/21 just 5 per cent of referrals to NHS talking therapies were people over 65, significantly below the 12 per cent planned for, according to NHS and government data.

The charity said that while the pandemic did not help, the proportion had already been declining in the two years prior to when Covid-19 hit.

Age UK analysis found that over half a million people over 65 in Britain experience anxiety disorder while nearly 490,000 experience a major depressive disorder.

In Age UK’s most recent survey on the impact of Covid-19, one person said: “I’m more depressed, prefer my own company, got used to not seeing family.

“[I] seem to have lost confidence outside the home. I’m working on it. It takes effort.”

The charity is calling for NHS England to commit to specific targeted support so that more older people can access talking therapies.

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