Filed Under:Health Insurance, Individual Health

Older adults face gaps in mental health care

A foundation says primary care providers should provide and coordinate the care. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
A foundation says primary care providers should provide and coordinate the care. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

Older Americans' primary care doctors are skimping on mental health care services, and that might increase the risk that the seniors will suffer serious general health problems as a result of untreated mental illness.

Analysts at the John A. Hartford Foundation gave that assessment earlier this month when they released the results from a mental health survey of about 1,300 U.S. adults ages 65 and over.

About 5 percent to 8 percent of the people a survey team polled said they suffered from conditions such as nervousness, uncontrollable worrying or depression "nearly every day" or "more than half the days" in the past two weeks.

About 61 percent of the participants said they would prefer to get mental health care from counselors in their primare care doctors' offices, but only 25 percent said their primary care doctors had even asked them whether they were feeling sad, anxious or depressed in the past 12 months.

The analysts noted that other researchers have found that depression can double the risk that an individual will have heart disease and also double the risk that an individual will have dementia.

But only 34 percent reported knowing about the link between depression and heart disease risk, and only 21 percent knew about the link between depression and dementia, the analysts said.

See also: 

Featured Video

Most Recent Videos

Behind the scenes with Vicki Gunvalson [VIDEO]


In this exclusive interview, Vicki Gunvalson shares how she built a $15 million a year annuity business by planning for...

Regulator: Market may need to reinvent LTCI


Cioppa says Maine's governor wants to spur the creation of better products.

Dementia: It's more than Alzheimer's


An association calls for policymakers to remember lesser-known neurodegenerative conditions.

Protesters Disrupt WellPoint Annual Meeting


Hecklers call for more disclosures of information about political contributions.

Related resources

More Resources


Power your business with up-to-the-minute insurance news, analysis, and best practices from LifeHealthPro Daily eNewsletter – FREE.

Power your business with LifeHealthPro Daily eNewsletter – FREE.

Enter a valid email address.
Nichole Morford

Nichole Morford
Managing Editor

Thank you for subscribing to LifeHealthPro Daily!

Check Out More eNewsletters Now! Close

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.