From Medicineworld.org: Mental Health A Major Priority At White House Conference On Aging
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Mental Health A Major Priority At White House Conference On Aging
Seventy-five percent (929 out of 1,200) of Conference national delegates voted to improve "recognition, assessment, and therapy of mental illness and depression among older Americans," a resolution supported by the APA. The resolution on the mental health of older Americans was ranked eighth by the delegates among the 10 most major priorities in dealing with America's aging population.
The WHCoA, is a nonpartisan, cross-disciplinary event made up of 1,200 delegates who formulate nonbinding policy recommendations to the president and Congress. The conference aims to help guide national aging policies and assist the public and private sectors for the next 10 years by promoting dignity, health, independence and economic security of current and future generations of older persons.
With over 36 million Americans older than 65, and the first of the 77 million baby boomers turning 60 this year, a surge of health care problems may soon face older adults. According to APA's Resolution on the 2005 White House Conference on Aging, 20-25 percent of older adults suffer from some form of mental disorder, which can impede physical health and independence. Fortunately, a wide variety of therapys are effective in improving mental and behavioral health problems in later life.
But, there are few geropsychology experts and other mental healthcare providers to provide this care to older adults at this time, particularly for those living in poor rural areas of the U.S. The mental health profession's growing role to address these concerns may reflect the start of a societal shift, said APA President Ronald F. Levant, EdD, a delegate at the conference. "We may be seeing the start of people viewing mental health as part of health overall," he says.
"The inclusion of mental health on the agenda of the WHCoA has been a top priority for APA," says Deborah DiGilio, APA's aging issues officer who coordinated APA's conference efforts. Through the combined work of APA and The National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging, which APA has been a member of since its inception in 1991, DiGilio is hopeful that greater attention will now be given to the mental health concerns of older Americans and access to quality mental health services will improve.
Mental health was also included in other resolutions' "implementation strategies", such as a call for mental health parity in a resolution seeking to strengthen and improve the Medicare program for older adults that will be included in the conference's final report in June, 2006.
In addition to APA's resolution on the mental health needs of older adults, seven other conference resolutions or their implementation strategies included mental health concerns were:
Source: American Psychological Association
Did you know?
The American Psychological Association (APA) applauds the inclusion of mental health issues as a priority resolution of the 2005 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) . Seventy-five percent (929 out of 1,200) of Conference national delegates voted to improve "recognition, assessment, and therapy of mental illness and depression among older Americans," a resolution supported by the APA. The resolution on the mental health of older Americans was ranked eighth by the delegates among the 10 most major priorities in dealing with America's aging population.
Medicineworld.org: Mental Health A Major Priority At White House Conference On Aging
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