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Mental Health First Aid Seeks to Help Older Adults with Mental Health Problems

New curriculum specifically targets the mental health needs of the aging population


WASHINGTON
— This week the National Council for Behavioral Health in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Missouri Department of Mental Health released Mental Health First Aid for Older Adults, a Mental Health First Aid training supplement that addresses the unique needs of older adults.

The first of the baby boomers turned 65 in 2010. By 2030, adults over the age of 65 will account for nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population. In older adults, symptoms such as apathy, sleep disturbances and appetite changes can be attributed to physical health conditions, dementias or even as a normal part of the aging process.  By educating more Americans about the mental health and substance use challenges of older adults and how to help and support this growing segment of our society, more Americans can age healthily and happily.

“Mental Health First Aid for Older Adults teaches people how to identify risk factors and signs of mental health and substance use problems most commonly experienced by older people,” said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council. “Mental Health First Aid equips us with the knowledge and skills we need to reach out and offer support at a time when it is greatly needed.”

To learn more about Mental Health First Aid for Older Adults, please visit staging.mentalhealthfirstaid.org.

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The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s community mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with 2,300 member organizations, it serves more than eight million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addiction disorders. The organization is committed to ensuring all Americans have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery and full participation in community life. The National Council, in partnership with the Missouri Department of Mental Health and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, pioneered Mental Health First Aid in the U.S. and has trained more than 375,000 individuals to connect youth and adults in need to mental health and addictions care in their communities. In 2014, the National Council merged with the State Associations of Addiction Services to serve as a stronger voice for individuals living with addictions.  Learn more at www.thenationalcouncil.org.