Senior Mental Wellness Screening
Some national statistics have suggested that seniors are less likely to experience depression and emotional distress. Other social science research, however, suggests that seniors are under-served in many areas of life, particularly those concerning mental health. In an effort to bridge the disconnect between reported mental health issues and existing mental health issues, the University Psychological Clinic has launched the Senior Mental Wellness Screening Initiative. Thanks to a generous grant from the U-M Depression Center Community Volunteers, the University Psychological Clinic's staff will visit senior centers and independent living facilities in the Ann Arbor area every spring, offering free mental health screenings and encouraging the utilization of mental health resources.
Many seniors are at an increased risk for developing mental illness. The average increase in prescription medication, the increased susceptibility to disease, the development of a poor diet, and many other issues that may result from aging can potentially develop into an array of mental health concerns. In spite of the increased risk, however, seniors are less likely to acknowledge their symptoms, and much less likely to seek help or treatment.
Though aging is inevitable, it is important for seniors to understand that developing mental conditions, particularly depression, is not inevitable, and if the right steps are taken, many of the unfortunate consequences of mental illness can be alleviated. For valuable information on senior mental health, visit the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association.
Closing the Gap for Ann Arbor's Seniors
The Senior Mental Wellness Screening initiative provides Ann Arbor area seniors with free screenings that will comfortably allow them to become aware of existing or potential issues, help them become familiar with mental health treatment options, and, if needed, guide them to seek helpful services within the community. These screenings, led by Todd K. Favorite, PhD, Sue Watts, LMSW, and social work interns Melissa Meyer and JoAnne Shipman, as well as other Psychological Clinic trainees, will take place every spring at senior centers and independent living facilities across Ann Arbor.
The Senior Mental Wellness Screenings are an extension of the Depression Screening Project done annually at the MARI and other partnering mental health service providers. Both projects share a unified mindset, and hope that seniors and adults who otherwise would be reluctant to search for mental health services will be encouraged by the easy access to resources and the knowledge that many others will be seeking help as well.
Continue following the Institute for Human Adjustment in the fall for more information on the Depression Screening Project, and in the spring for more on our Senior Mental Wellness Screenings.