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The epidemiology and presentation of mental illness in older people is different to younger adults, and older people with mental illness often have a unique and complex set of physical, psychological and social factors complicating their care. For these reasons older people need dedicated inpatient and community mental health teams to look after them.

There is a global history of ageism in the funding and delivery of mental health services for older people. The UK has led the way in developing age-specific services which research has shown improve care in this group. These services are now under threat in the UK by the move to "ageless services". Commissioners and trusts have various reasons to consider this including a misguided belief it may save money or misinterpretation of the Equalities Acts around the UK.

The College is clear that older people need dedicated age-specific mental health services. We have assembled a compendium of evidence to support this below.

If your services are under threat, please look at and use this evidence. Many people have already found it helpful to rebut the move to ageless services.

Please give us any feedback as to whether these resources help or not in your fight to preserve your services.


Other topics


These videos have been created by other organisations for sharing and teaching purposes.

Delirium Awareness - #ICanPreventDelirium

As part of the #ICanPreventDelirium campaign, faculty members Dr Krishnan and Dr Bennett, in collaboration with Teesside local councils and CCG produced this video with the aim of improving recognition and management of delirium in any healthcare setting.

This video was developed by Dr Mani Santhanakrishnan, Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Trust for Health Education England North East.

Delirium Superimposed on Dementia - #DeliriumReady

Delirium in older adults often goes unrecognised by health care professionals and can be poorly managed. People with Dementia have a higher risk of developing delirium. This video has been produced to raise the awareness of Delirium Superimposed Dementia and also signposted ways of managing it using a tool we developed (delirium wheel) that can be used in a care home, hospital or community setting.

This video was developed by Dr Mani Santhanakrishnan, Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Trust for Health Education England North East.

Depression in older people

This video explores the symptoms of depression in older people and what help you can get if you are feeling depressed. It also shows how to cope if you are a friend or family member of an older person suffering from depression.

This video was developed by Dr Sophia Bennett for Health Education England North East.

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