Mental Health: Older People

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 26th June 2018.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Labour, Barnsley Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of (a) social isolation and (b) loneliness on the mental health of the elderly.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Government recognises the negative impact of isolation and loneliness on the quality of life for elderly and other vulnerable people. It is not possible, however, to demonstrate a causal link between becoming socially isolated or lonely and developing mental health problems.

Whilst Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services cannot ‘treat’ loneliness, those who experience mental health conditions may also be lonely and vice versa. IAPT services can signpost or refer people onto other services that seek to address loneliness where these are available locally.

Feelings of social isolation and loneliness are not exclusive to the elderly but that group can be particularly affected. The Green Paper on the care of older people which will be published in the autumn, will set out a number of proposals to help older people live healthier, longer, more independent lives.

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