Assistance is available from licensed mental health professionals
A new nationwide poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans 65 and older who have concerns about depression will not seek treatment, and nearly one in three respondents who are concerned they may be suffering from depression believe they can “snap out of it” on their own.
Conducted by Acupoll and the GeneSight Mental Health Monitor among a statistically representative sample of U.S. adults, including a representative sample of adults 65 and older, the survey also found:
- Sixty-one percent of respondents who aren’t concerned they might have depression would not seek treatment for it because “my issues aren’t that bad.”
- Thirty-nine percent of respondents concerned they may have depression think they can manage without professional help.
Survey researchers noted depression remains a taboo topic among older Americans, despite about one-third of those over 65 who are concerned they have depression recognizing that the condition has interfered with their relationships and their ability to enjoy activities.
“The ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ mindset of some seniors and reluctance to talk about mental health are hindering them from getting the help they need, especially now when the pandemic is having an enormous impact on the mental health of older Americans,” said Dr. Mark Pollack, chief medical officer of Myriad Neuroscience, makers of the GeneSight. “People will seek treatment for conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Depression is no different. It is an illness that can and should be treated.”
Depression is more than just feeling down once in a while or having a bad day: It pervades and negatively affects your everyday life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling sad or anxious often or all the time.
- Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun.
- Feeling irritable‚ easily frustrated‚ or restless.
- Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Waking up too early or sleeping too much.
- Eating more or less than usual or having no appetite.
- Experiencing aches, pains, headaches, or stomach problems that do not improve with treatment.
- Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions.
- Feeling tired‚ even after sleeping well.
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless.
- Thinking about suicide or hurting yourself.
If you are concerned that you may be experiencing depression, you don’t have to go it alone—reach out for professional help: Licensees of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Board of Psychology and Board of Behavioral Sciences can assist, as can specialists of the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California. You can check a professional’s license at https://search.dca.ca.gov. In addition, several pandemic-related resources for emotional support and well-being are available at https://covid19.ca.gov. If you feel you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255) or call 911.