Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Older people and mental health

3-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
  • At Ease (mental health support for veterans, ADF personnel and their family members) – online help
  • beyondblue (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: December 2017


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

6 ways to get help for mental health | ReachOut Australia

While its pretty common to need some help with mental health, knowing how to access the right support for you can be a little tricky. Find out six ways that you can get help for your mental health so that you can stop feeling crappy.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

MindSpot Clinic | Wellbeing Plus Course

The Wellbeing Plus course is designed to help adults aged 60 years and over learn to manage mild, moderate and severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Read more on MindSpot Clinic website

How to talk to young children about mental health | Queensland Health

Talking to children about mental wellbeing and health from a young age can help them understand their emotions, develop resilience and reduce stigma about mental illness.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Supporting aged and elderly | Head to Health

There are many benefits that can come with being older. However, elderly people also have their own unique circumstances, challenges, and risk factors related to their mental health and wellbeing.

Read more on Head to Health website

Supporting young adults | Head to Health

Some of life's biggest changes take place between the ages of 18 and 25, and there are many things that can impact on a young adult’s mental health and wellbeing.

Read more on Head to Health website

How headspace Can Help - for Young People | headspace

headspacecentres across Australia provide face-to-face information, support and services related to good mental health. We are here for young people, aged 12 to 25 years, their families and friends.

Read more on headspace website

Supporting yourself - young adults | Head to Health

Between the ages of 18 and 25, we experience some big changes in our lives. As responsibilities increase, many things can impact on our mental health, so it's important to look after our wellbeing.

Read more on Head to Health website

Supporting yourself - young people | Head to Health

A lot of things happen in your life between the ages of 12 and 18, and it's natural to have ups and downs. Now is an important time to learn more about looking after your physical and mental health.

Read more on Head to Health website

Supporting young people | Head to Health

Between the ages of 12 and 18, young people can go through many ups and downs. There are many things you can do to help a young person n your life look after their physical and mental health.

Read more on Head to Health website

What are Loneliness and Isolation?

Loneliness is feeling sad about being by yourself, particularly over a long period of time. Isolation is being separated from other people and your environment. Loneliness can sometimes be felt even in relationships or when surrounded by people.

Read more on Lifeline website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo