Local Age UK urges older people to seek mental health support if they are suffering in silence

12 October 2022

This World Mental Health Day, 10th October, Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove is working with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust urging older people who are struggling to seek help.

Research shows older people are just as likely to be living with depression and anxiety as younger age groups, but are much less likely to be receiving the support they need.


Reaching out for support from family, friends or professionals can make a huge difference, including, in some cases, preventing self-harm or suicide. Many older people find it very difficult to discuss their mental health but there is still a significant need. According to data extracted by Age UK, in people over 65:

  • Over half a million (579,803) experience anxiety disorder
  • Just under half a million(487,100) experience a major depressive disorder
  • Just under 200,000 (191,740) experience chronic depressive disorder

Helen Rice, Chief Executive at Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove (WSBH) said “We’re deeply concerned about older people’s mental health at the moment. Having just coped with Covid-19, many are now facing an awful Winter with the cost of living crisis hitting them hard. Living with mental health problems is not an inevitable part of ageing. We want to urge anyone who is feeling anxious, lonely or depressed to talk to their GP or someone they trust. You still matter, there is help out there and the first step towards feeling better is having a conversation.”

Dr Padmaprabha Dalby Clinical Director Sussex Partnership, said "We want older people and their families to realise that mental health difficulties can really affect anyone and there's no shame in asking for help. Anxiety, Low mood or depression can creep up on us and lead to poor sleep, lost appetite, feeling lethargic or unmotivated, avoiding things that used to be enjoyable and finding it harder to cope with physical health conditions or pain. This isn't something you have to be resigned to and there are treatments and support available."

Accessing support

  • Talk to someone, tell a friend, family member or someone you trust how you are feeling
  • Speak to your GP. If you need support out of hours call NHS 111.
  • Call the Sussex Mental Health Line on 0800 0309 500
  • Text Shout If you prefer to talk to someone over text message. Shout offer confidential support 24/7. Text: SHOUT to 85258.
  • Join Mind’s online community Side by Side, it’s an online space where you can listen, share and be heard. Visit sidebyside.mind.org.uk
  • Call the Samaritans on 116 123. They are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Visit the e-wellbeing hub for more contacts https://e-wellbeingadults.co.uk/services

‘Don’t Brush it under the Carpet’ was a Manchester based campaign, launched earlier this year. The campaign’s website www.shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk is aimed specifically at older people and includes a range of practical help and advice, along with some national contacts.

Older people can also contact Age UK WSBH directly by phone - 0800 019 1310 oremail info@ageukwsbh.org.uk.