Depression affects more than 19 million Americans every year, regardless of age, race, or gender. While depression is not a normal part of the aging process, there is a strong likelihood of it occurring when other physical health conditions are present. For example, nearly a quarter of the 600,000 people who experience a stroke in a given year will experience clinical depression. Unfortunately, symptoms of depression are often overlooked and untreated when they coincide with other medical illnesses or life events that commonly occur as people age (e.g., loss of loved ones). However, clinical depression is never a "normal" response; it is a serious medical illness that should be treated at any age.
Fortunately, clinical depression is a very treatable illness. More than 80% of all people with depression can be successfully treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both.
Older Adult Attitudes Toward Depression:
According to a National Mental Health Association survey on attitudes and beliefs about clinical depression:
Contact your local Mental Health Association, community mental health center or for additional resources, please call 1-800-969-NMHA.
NMHA's Campaign for America's Mental Health works to raise awareness that mental illnesses are common, real and treatable illnesses and ensure that those most at-risk receive proper, timely and effective treatment.