Older people struggling with mental illness because they don't want to offload problems on to others
Older people are hiding mental illness because they are fearful of becoming a burden to their family and loved ones.
Increasing numbers of old people are phoning the older people’s charity Silverline with problems such as depression, but they refuse to tell their family or their doctor meaning the problems go unrecorded and untreated.
Calls to The Silver Line are increasing by 5-10% every month and staff currently handle 1,700 calls per day.
Young people are more likely to talk to their families and friends about their problems, while people over 70 are from a generation that finds it difficult to open up says Andrews.
And suicide among the elderly is under-reported she suggested because coroners are “cautious” about recording verdicts of suicide where there is no definite evidence such as a note.
Instead they will record open verdicts when people have died of pills overdoses, saying they might have overdosed by accident.
Andrews said: “The rise in calls has been particularly noticeable after 11pm. Two thirds of people who call us overnight have mental health problems. We are dealing with depression, loneliness, suicidal thoughts, fear of death.
“They sometimes say ‘if I go to bed tonight and don’t wake up it will be a blessing’. They are not suicidal but they have reached the end.
“In the 80-90 generation there is a real stigma in talking about how you feel. They don’t want to talk to their doctor in case it ends up on their medical notes, and they don’t want to talk their family because they don’t want to be a burden.
“Often they don’t want to be judged or they don’t want any action to be taken. They say they don’t want anyone to know how they feel, because they don’t want their independence taken away from them.”