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Promotion of Mental Health of the Elderly

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Global Mental Health


The aging of the world population is accelerating. Mental health problems, including depression and other mood disorders, as well as neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are some of the most prevalent and serious health problems among older people. Early detection of any kind of mental disorder, through the life span and/or during the course of the illness, gives better chance for individuals to receive proper therapy, prevents complications and delayed functional dependence and decreases expenditures for the society. Another even better option is to prevent the development of mental disorders by promoting activities created at individual and population level, which would be an integrated part of all training curriculums of mental health professionals around the world. Age equality should be promoted particularly within mental health promotion. It is important that older people have full opportunity to participate in the social, cultural, economic and political decision-making process of society. Self-help groups are good examples of building capacities for social inclusion. Intergenerational activities are crucial to promote the understanding and respect between younger and older people. It is vital to strengthen partnerships for mental health, engaging and networking different actors and sectors. This could be achieved by supporting effective implementation based on relevant strategies and action plans, which would be monitored, evaluated and redesigned.

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Correspondence to Aleksandra Milićević Kalašić .

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Take Away Messages

Take Away Messages

Mind changing on the complexity of aging is crucial, as negative and depreciating attitudes towards old age and older people still prevail in society today because of an aging population and an increasing tendency towards mental issues in old age. The benefits of promotional activities and strategies on mental health of an aging population should be visible and integral part of all training curricula of mental health professionals around the world. Age equality needs to be enlarged particularly within mental health promotion. Sensitization of the general population is also mandatory, as mental health and well-being in later life affects all human beings, and may be achieved through partnership and intergenerational understanding and solidarity.

At the level of the individual

  • Lifelong strengthening of the individual’s self-responsibility is crucial for the recognition, promotion and improvement of the awareness of one’s behaviour, attitude and motivation. Increase subjective well-being can favour a healthy and active independent life until the end, by bringing potential into the societal sphere and an appropriate preparation for death (Pfeiffer 2016).

At the level of public institutions and economy

  • Depending on the development of the country, responsible and sustainable political and economic conditions should be provided (Costanza et al. 2009).

  • During difficult life situations, basic care, support for families and relatives, education , public sphere, security and legislature (including vulnerable groups) should be incorporated. Society needs to implement structures and financial resources, in order to allow the individual to have access to treatments and contribute self-responsibly and profitably to it until the end of their life (Prince et al. 2007; Ugolini and Angst 2013; Kessler 2014; Petersen et al. 2016).

  • A useful and helpful tool to receive updated information is the European Network for Mental Health Promotion (European Mental Health Network 2016), developed from an European funded former project called ProMenPol.

Communication and awareness

Communication, awareness and solution-oriented interdisciplinary across countries are factors of success that are invaluable in order to overcome future challenges related to the mental health of aged people.

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Kalašić, A.M., Pfeiffer, A. (2017). Promotion of Mental Health of the Elderly. In: Bährer-Kohler, S., Carod-Artal, F. (eds) Global Mental Health . Springer, Cham.

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