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Old Age Psychiatry

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About

The world population aged over 60 is estimated to become 2 billion by 2050. The growth of the older adults’ number will be rapid in middle and low-income countries, with enormous consequences for these vulnerable economies. Many people live a long and happy life without any mental health conditions and, despite the widespread image that older people are sad, slow, and forgetful, mental disorders are not an inevitable consequence of aging. Nevertheless, one of the possible negative consequences of the rapid aging of the world population is the increase of the number of older adults with mental disorders, which is likely to overwhelm mental health systems in all countries as they are now.

At least 20% of people aged 55 and more may suffer from mental health conditions. Somatic diseases are also important factors in breaking an already fragile psychic balance. Mental disorders can exacerbate the symptoms and functional disabilities associated with medical illnesses and increase the overall cost of care.

Mental health conditions can have a significant impact on an older adult's ability to carry out the basic activities of everyday life and to reduce the person’s independence, autonomy and quality of life. Unfortunately, mental health conditions are not often diagnosed and treated. Many older adults struggle without proper help, or simply without any help at all.

There are many prejudices about the meaning of mental illness. Many older adults today still see mental illness as a sign of weakness and are unlikely to admit their difficulties. In addition, symptoms of dementia and depression are too often considered as part of normal aging.

Despite the significant and increasing number of well-prepared professionals, a well-developed body of knowledge, and a large number of caregivers, it is becoming more and more difficult to persuade the authorities to invest in the overall older adults’ mental health. The distribution of skilled mental health resources for caring older adults among the different regions of the world and income groups is significantly uneven and, in many countries, they are even scarce.

In this context, the absence of a comprehensive policies and targeted programs for the older adults’ mental health is not surprising. Despite the improvement in educational programs, the recruitment of new human resources to work in favor of the older adults’ mental health is becoming increasingly difficult. The organization of services for older adults suffering from mental disorders needs vast improvement.

The WPA Section of Old Age Psychiatry has been very active in improving the knowledge in this area and in advocating a better mental health for older adults around the world.

GOALS

To promote the discipline of Old Age Psychiatry within the framework of WPA by:

1. ensuring that WPA Executive Committee and the Board are well informed of old age psychiatry issues,

2. organizing symposia and workshops at WPA congresses,

3. collaborating with other international organizations with similar interests and participating in major international meetings relevant to the discipline,

4. developing and disseminating educational material for practitioners in the field, and

5. providing technical support to relevant national organization and WPA members.

Section Officers

Chair:

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Carlos Augusto de Mendonça Lima

Centre Médical du Jorat
Route de Servion 4 Jorat-Mézières
CH-1083 SWITZERLAND
Tel.: +41 79 527 88 10
Fax: +41 21 903 22 82
Email: climasj@yahoo.com

Co-Chair:

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Mysore S. Renuka Prasad

Department of Psychiatry
University of Saskatchewan
104-750 Spadina Crescent East
Saskatoon, SK  S7K 3H3, Canada
Tel. : +1 306 653-4843
Fax : +1 306 653-3190
E-mail : dr.prasad@shaw.ca

Secretary:

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Kasia Gustaw Rothenberg

Cleveland Clinic, Centre for Brain Health, Neurological Institute
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA
Tel.: +1 216 403-6847
Fax: +1 216 636-2645
E-mail: rothenk@ccf.org

>> Please click here to see the Section Members list​

Section News & Activities

Here you can find the latest news from the Section Old Age Psychiatry:

Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Week: A Lifespan Approach to Mental Health of Older People (1-10 October 2022)

 

The WPA Section on Old Age Psychiatry supports the International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA) in recognising the 1st-10th of October as Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Week. This exciting 2nd Annual initiative kicks off on 1 October with the UN International Day of Older Persons and will include daily programs, downloadable information, and video messages from supporters across the globe. Wrapping up on 10 October with a World Mental Health Day, Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Week aims to raise awareness around the impact of ageism on health outcomes and reduce stigma of mental health conditions. To learn more, please visit AwarenessWeek.ipa-online.org

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Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Week: A Lifespan Approach to Mental Health of Older People (1-10 October 2022)

 

The WPA Section on Old Age Psychiatry supports the International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA) in recognising the 1st-10th of October as Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Week. This exciting 2nd Annual initiative kicks off on 1 October with the UN International Day of Older Persons and will include daily programs, downloadable information, and video messages from supporters across the globe. Wrapping up on 10 October with a World Mental Health Day, Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Week aims to raise awareness around the impact of ageism on health outcomes and reduce stigma of mental health conditions. To learn more, please visit AwarenessWeek.ipa-online.org

Publications and Reports

Here you can find some of the latest publications or reports related to Old Age Psychiatry:

  • 1. BANERJEE D, IVBIJARO G, DE MENDONCA LIMA CA, RABHERU K. Human Rights and Mental Health inequality among older persons: urgent need for a global convention. In: WFMH. Word Mental Health Day 2021. Mental Health in an Unequal World: Together we can make a difference. Pp: 59-68.

  • 2. BANERJEE D, MUKHOPADHYAY S, RABHERU K, IVBIJARO G, DE MENDONCA LIMA CA. Not a disease: a global call for action urging revision of the ICD-11 classification of age. The Lancet Healthy Longevity D 21 00228.

  • 3. PEISAH C, DE MENDONCA LIMA CA, VERBEEK H, RABHERU K. IPA and WPA-SOAP joint statement on the rights of older persons with mental health conditions and psychosocial disabilities. International Psychogeriatrics 2021. Doi:10.1017/S1041610221000454

  • 4. DE MENDONCA LIMA CA. Towards a WPA Position Document on the Human Rights of Older Adults with Mental Health Conditions. Consortium Psychiatricum 2022, 3(1): 16-21.

  • 5. PEISAH C, DE MENDONCA LIMA CA, AYALON L, BANERJEE D, DE LEO D, TZUNG-JENG H, IKEDO M, JESTE D, LEON T, WANG H, WARNER J, RABHERU K. An international consensus statement on the benefits of reframing aging and mental health conditions in a culturally inclusive and respectful manner. Int Psychogeriatr. 2023 Jan;35(1):13-16. Doi: 10.1017/S1041610222000473. Epub 2022 May 26.

  • 6. DE MENDONCA LIM CA, BANERJEE D, AYALON L, PRASAD R, ROTHENBERG KG, RABHERU K. IPA and WPA-SOAP position statement on deprivation of liberty of older persons with mental health conditions. International Psychogeriatrics 2022, 34(11): 949–952.

  • 7. DE MENDONCA LIMA CA, AYALON L, BANERJEE D, PEISAH C, RABHERU K. The right to education throughout the life course, advances, and challenges: contribution of WPA-SOAP and IPA. International Psychogeriatrics 2023, 35(8): 407-409. Doi: 10.1017/S104161022300056X

  • 8. AYALON L, DE MENDONCA LIMA CA, BANERJEE D, RABHERU K, FITZGERALD KG. Older persons in climate change-induced hazards and building forward better: International Psychogeriatric Association, World Psychiatric Association Section of Old Age Psychiatry, and NGO Committee on Ageing in Geneva position statement. International Psychogeriatrics (2023), 35:11, 589–591. doi:10.1017/S1041610223000765

  • 9. DE MENDONCA LIMA CA, PEISAH C, VERBEEK H, BANERJEE D, PRASAD MSR, ROTHENBRG KG, RABHERU K, on behalf of the World Psychiatry Association Section of Old Age Psychiatry. WPA Position Statement on Human Rights of Older Persons with Mental Health Conditions: a call for action (Approved at the General Assembly in Vienna on 30 September 2023)

Image by Matthew Bennett
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