Depression and anxiety can affect anyone at any stage of their life. Research suggests that up to 1 in 4 people will experience a problem with depression or anxiety at some point in their life – including older adults.
However only 1 in 3 people aged 65+ will talk to their GP about it. This is because people often think ‘there is probably somebody a lot worse off than me’ or ‘I just need to pull myself together and stop feeling sorry for myself’. But you do not have to live like this.
A lot of the life experiences older adults face can be challenging; for example:
• negotiating the change from work to retirement
• experiencing a change in your role as children grow up and there is the possibility of having grandchildren
• increased physical ill health
• social isolation can sometimes increase due to physical limitations
• bereavement and losses associated with older adulthood
• becoming a carer for a loved one or having to rely on others to care for you
These experiences may affect you in a number of ways. You may notice:
• a general low mood
• worrying a lot more than usual
• feelings of hopelessness
• panicking over small things
• wanting to shut yourself away or even having thoughts of not being here
• no longer gaining pleasure from activities you previously enjoyed
The good news is that there is support out there that can help. The Steps 2 Wellbeing service has staff members who are experienced working with older adults and understand the issues people are experiencing.
If you are feeling very distressed, despairing or suicidal and need immediate help please contact your GP and request an emergency appointment, contact the Samaritans on 116 123, or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department.
If your GP surgery is not open, you can contact the NHS Out of Hours Medical Service on 111. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation. If you feel at harm to yourself or from other – go straight to your nearest Accident and Emergency.
If you are concerned that someone else is very distressed and might be considering suicide please encourage them to contact their GP and make an emergency appointment. Alternatively you might wish to encourage them to speak to the Samaritans on 116 123.
If you are concerned that someone is about to act on thoughts of hurting themselves you might wish help them attend the nearest Accident and Emergency Department. Alternatively, you may choose to contact the Police on 999.
Similarly, if you become concerned that someone is at risk of hurting somebody else
If you feel you need to talk to someone in confidence, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on:
Tel: 116 123
(TEXT MESSAGE ONLY number available on 07725 909090)
There are also local Samaritans branches across Hampshire and Dorset.