Busy GPs are too often neglecting problems like anxiety and low mood

One in five older people suffer from depression, yet their mental health problems often go unrecognised and they are much less likely to get psychological help than younger people. A government target, set in 2011 – for older people in England to make up 12% of referrals to psychological therapies – was missed by a mile.

“It was supposed to be achieved in five years, but it’s still only 6.7%,” says Tom Gentry, head of health influencing at charity Age UK. “At the current rate of improvement, it would take another 15 years to get there.”

Related: The battle against loneliness among older people

Related: 'Teach young people we are not going to move over': stories of ageing in cities

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".