Suicide decreases overall across the European Union, but the situation remains critical for older persons. 10th October marks the International Day of Mental Health, with a focus on suicide prevention. Timely for AGE to urge the European Commission to put mental health back on its agenda and to ensure older persons are not left behind!
Mental health is an essential part of human health and deserves the same attention as physical health at any age. Today persons living with mental ill health and psycho-social disabilities are still stigmatised, in particular older persons.
The insidious practice of ageism has harmful effects on the health and well-being of older persons, leading for example to social isolation, inappropriate care and overmedication, elder abuse. Researchers have studied the detrimental effect of ageism in mental health care and the need to allocate more financial resources for mental health services for older adults and for geriatric training and education for both providers and consumers of mental health care.
We can’t afford to wait any longer to improve mental health and tackle ageism.
The Commissioner-designate Stella Kyriakides’ commitment to be a voice for mental health is an important step forward. Yet, we seize the momentum of the International Day of Mental Health to further call on the European Commission to:
- actively support the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030) proposed by the World Health Organisation by putting mental health back on the European agenda and combating ageism;
- breakdown mental health data in the European Union by gender and age.
AGE Barometer 2020 will further explore the issue of health with a focus on healthy life expectancy and mental health.