Royal College of Psychiatrists: End mental health age divide

Mental health services must abolish the ‘arbitrary’ division between adults’ and older people’s provision to end ageism in care, the Royal College of Psychiatrists said today.

A report out today said the traditional division between service provision for working-age and older adults meant services were being delivered on the basis of age, not need.

It said people aged over 65 often lacked support that was available to those under pensionable age, including psychological therapies, rehabilitation, and early intervention, addiction and crisis response services.

End ‘arbitrary’ division

The college said ending the division in services at 65 was a necessary step towards combating ageism.

Dr Dave Anderson, chair of the faculty of old age psychiatry, said: “There is no justifiable reason why an older person with the same need as a younger person is denied equitable mental health care, yet that is the current position.”

However, he said services still needed to respond to the specific needs of older people, stressing that “equality is not achieved by treating all people in the same way but by respecting their differences”.

The college’s intervention follows a review of the impact of a planned ban on age discrimination in the provision of goods and services on health and social care, which found extensive ageism in adult care.

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