Check on your nan. Chat to your gran. Ask your grandad if he’s doing okay.

Social isolation, loneliness, depression and anxiety can affect anyone of any age both before and during a pandemic.

But while one in four older people live with a mental health issue only 4% access talking therapy services locally - which is why we're encouraging older generations to get talking.

NAViGO Open Minds service lead Gary Bryars said: “Talking about mental health has become more open over the last few years but sometimes we find older people are reluctant, as they don’t want to be labelled; they feel they should just ‘get on with it’ or that it’s a natural part of aging. But it doesn’t have to be.”

How to get older generations to talk

  • Get in the habit of asking someone how they are – be they a friend, family member or neighbour
  • Look for signs that they might be struggling with their mental health such as:

    • Feeling tired all the time
    • Feeling dizzy or sick
    • Moving or talking slower than usual
  • Think about your language. Try to be informal. Try to say ‘you don’t seem yourself lately’ rather than using terms such as ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’
  • Make it clear they’re not ‘making a fuss’
  • Be patient – it may take them a little longer to open up but let them know you’ll be there when they are ready
  • Support, listen and reassure
  • And keep checking in – regularly
  • Encourage them to get professional help - talking to someone may be helpful. Mental health problems in later life are not inevitable and with the right support, older people can recover.

NAViGO Open Minds offers a variety of services providing advice, guidance and therapy with trained professionals on hand to deliver support for individuals experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression.

This includes quick access and support to a range of treatments including guided self-help, cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling both in person and virtually.

Gary added: “We know it isn’t always easy to open up, but let’s start that conversation – by talking about mental health, we can make a huge difference to anyone of any age.”

You can self-refer to Open Minds online or by calling (01472) 625100.