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Older people and mental health

4-minute read

Getting older brings its share of challenges, and at times you may find it difficult to stay mentally healthy and strong.

If feelings like sadness or worry are preventing you from getting the most out of life, help and support is available.

Your mental health is important

Your mental health is a central part of your overall wellbeing. If you don't have good mental health, it's possible you also don't have good self-esteem or you don't feel confident and able to face life and its challenges.

Being mentally healthy is important, not just so you can get through the day but so you can maintain healthy relationships with others, and appreciate life to the full. So if you feel like your mental health is not as good as it could be, look for support before you reach a crisis point (see ‘Where to get help’ below).

Common mental health issues for seniors

Many older people have mental health issues at some point. This may be due to:

Improving your wellbeing

There are plenty of things you can do to improve your mental health and wellbeing. They include:

Find out more here about tips for good mental health and tips for managing stress and staying well. By doing some of these things, you’re giving yourself the best chance of staying mentally healthy. But if despite your best efforts, you are still struggling, it’s a good idea to get some professional support.

Where to get help

Speaking to your doctor about your mental health is a good first step - if necessary, they can refer you to support services that best suit your needs. There are also several excellent organisations that older people can contact for help. They include:

  • My Aged Care (aged care services provided by the Australian government) - call 1800 200 422
  • Open Arms (mental health support for veterans, ADF personnel and their family members) - online help
  • Head to Health  (for advice, assessment and referral into local mental health services) - call 1800 595 212 from 8:30am to 5pm on weekdays (public holidays excluded)
  • Beyond Blue (for people feeling depressed or anxious) - call 1300 22 4636 or chat online
  • SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness) - call 1800 18 7263
  • Black Dog Institute (people affected by mood disorders) - online help
  • Lifeline (for anyone having a personal crisis) - call 13 11 14 or chat online
  • Suicide Call Back Service (24/7 counselling for anyone thinking about suicide) - call 1300 659 467

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2021

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