Mental health needs not uniform among older adults in California
Objectives: To examine differences in mental health need among older subgroups in California and to identify characteristics of older subgroups with needs.
Methods: The 2009 California Health Interview Survey is used to identify and describe those with mental health needs among the 60+ (n=20,778). Need is defined as having serious psychological distress (K6≥13) and moderate functional impairment in at least one of three life domains (Grant et al., 2011). Bivariate analyses examine differences in both objective and self-perceived mental health need by gender, age, self-reported health, disability, chronic conditions, marital status, and obesity.
Results: Overall, 3.4% of California older adults met criteria for having mental health need. Among those who are divorced or separated, nearly double (6%) have mental health needs compared to those that are married (2.7%, p<0.0001). Of those who meet the definition of having mental health needs, 39.5% self-reported no need for help with mental health problems. Among those who self-reported no need for help but met the criteria for having mental health need, 72.7% report fair or poor physical health.
Conclusions: Conservative measures of mental health need identify older subpopulations that may be missed by more subjective measures of need. This population would benefit from targeted mental health care interventions in California.
Learning Areas:Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Describe differences in mental health needs among older subgroups in California. Identify characteristics of older subgroups with mental health needs. Compare survey measures of mental health need for older populations.
Keyword(s): Aging, Mental Health
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted all analyses, assisted in development of the abstract and am knowledgable about the data used to conduct the analyses.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.