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Archbishop's daughter raises concerns for elderly on World Mental Health Day

The Archbishop of Canterbury's daughter is encouraging Christians to remember the elderly on World Mental Health Day today.

This year's theme focuses on mental health and older adults while acknowledging the positive aspects of mental health in later life.

A report by the World Federation for Mental Health called, 'Mental Health and Older People", said:

"There is much we can do to promote good mental health and well-being in later life. 

"Participation in meaningful activities, strong personal relationships and good physical health are key factors."

Katharine Welby, daughter of the Most Revd Justin Welby, battles with depression and says the illness is "a constant struggle". She also admits it creates moments of crisis in which she wants to "run away and hide in a hole". Now working for the disability charity Livability she's encouraging Christians to offer support and help to the elderly who may feel alone and isolated. Speaking to John and Nage on Premier's Inspirational Breakfast show Katharine says one in five people have a mental health condition at some point in life:

This year's report also highlights that in developed countries people are living longer which encompasses more years at work, more years of an active lifestyle in retirement and a growing number of people in their 80s and 90s.

In lower-income countries people often have a shorter lifespan and receive limited help as they age. A survey by the Royal Voluntary Service last year found a third of over-75s who live alone typically spend 12 hours a day by themselves.

It also found that 1 percent of older people don't go into their communities because of ill health, while 15 percent said it was because they had no one to accompany them. Feeling lonely also led to 17 percent of those surveyed losing touch with friends and 26 percent giving up on their hobbies. One in eight older people who feel lonely now worry about their mental health because of having no one to talk to. But despite loneliness, isolation, dementia and depression being common place amongst the elderly, research by the Office of National Statistics shows on average people aged 55 and over have greater life satisfaction than people aged 25-54. The Mental Health Foundation wants the elderly to make the most of old age and has put together a list of ten ways to look after your mental health:

  1. Be prepared for changes
  2. Talk about problems and concerns
  3. Ask for help
  4. Think ahead and have a plan
  5. Care for others
  6. Keep in Touch
  7. Be active and sleep well
  8. Eat and drink sensibly
  9. Do things you enjoy
  10. Relax and have a break

For those wanting more information on mental health issues or advice you can head to Premier's Mind and Soul website.

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