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Elderly mental health needs 'urgent action'

Elderly mental health needs 'urgent action'
25th June 2008

A group of key organisations are calling for government action on the issue of later-life mental health problems.

They argue in a collective statement that a comprehensive and sustained action is needed to properly address the issue.

In addition, they believe dementia must not be viewed in isolation from other mental health conditions, pointing to a statistic which suggests that depression affects three times as many older people as dementia.

Dr Dave Anderson, chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Faculty of the Psychiatry of Old Age, asserts that increased ageing is the "single most important challenge" to be faced by health and social care in the next four decades.

Professor Paul Kingston of Staffordshire University's Centre for Ageing and Mental Health adds: "This issue affects each and every one of us - there is a clear imperative to act and make older people's mental health a national priority."

Academics from 11 UK universities last week issued an open letter to the health secretary calling for an increase in funding for dementia research.