Our population is aging. Approximately 75 million Americans will be over age 65 by 2030. Additionally, in 2012, one in five older adults in the U.S. experienced a mental illness, substance use disorder, or both. That ratio, should it still exist in 2030, would equal approximately 15 million people. The growing number of older adults with mental or substance use disorders could have a tremendous impact on the healthcare needs of our nation. To bring even more emphasis to the needs of older Americans, SAMHSA, in conjunction with the National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging and the Administration for Community Living, designated May 18, 2018 as National Older Adults Mental Health Awareness Day.On National Older Adults Mental Health Awareness Day, we will hold a public discussion on the topics of mental health and aging specifically related to the prevention, treatment and recovery support options for older adults with mental or substance use disorders. The panel discussions will be webcast live from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. Register here to join the webcast.The event will feature notable speakers, expert panel discussions, and an in person audience comprising older adults; members of mental health, substance use, and aging networks; providers; family caregivers; and national organizations with focused efforts in behavioral health and aging.
Panel discussions will include live audience participation, and will focus on topics including:
- Understanding the scope and level of current federal, state, local and community response to supporting the needs of older adults with mental illness and substance use disorders;
- Resources for practitioners;
- Importance of person-centered treatment and family caregiving; and
- Significance of community and social support services to counter social isolation.
The event will also highlight the work of the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) on treating underserved populations. Formed in 2017, the ISMICC is a new committee composed of federal and non-federal members tasked with enhancing coordination of efforts to improve the lives of people with serious mental illness and their families. Click here if you would like to learn more about the ISMICC.
Since May is both Older Americans Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s a great time to heighten our focus on the behavioral health needs of older Americans. SAMHSA is committed to helping meet those needs every day, in every community. Please join us On May 18 to lean how you can help older Americans live healthier, more fulfilling lives.
For more information about mental health and substance use disorders among older adults, download a free copy of SAMHSA’s toolkit, “Get Connected: Linking Older Adults with Medication, Alcohol and Mental Health Resources.” If someone you know may need help with a mental health or substance use issue, visit SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.