Commenting on the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy's (BACP) campaign about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said:
“We are proud to be supporting the BACP to raise awareness of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the mental health of people in later life.
“Many factors affect our mental health as we grow older, and the pandemic has had a negative impact on all of us. As well as feelings of acute anxiety around the COVID-19 outbreak, and the intensified isolation and loneliness, many people in later life will also be experiencing grief. Our own most recent estimates found that up to 85,000 older people may have suffered the death of a partner since the start of the lockdown. This is one and a half times as many as in the same period in each of the five previous years.
“Worryingly, although people in later life are more likely to benefit from treatments such as talking therapies, they are less likely to receive this valuable support. In too many cases partner bereavement, low mood, and depression are seen as simply a part of growing older. It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s more important than ever that people in later life get access to the psychological support they need to improve their mental health and wellbeing, especially as we look ahead to a tough winter that could involve more social isolation and a possible second spike.”