Two-thirds of U.S. older people say they won’t treat their depression

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In a new study, researchers found that nearly two-thirds (61%) of Americans age 65 or older who have concerns about having depression will not seek treatment.

In fact, nearly 1 in 3 (33%) seniors who are concerned they might be suffering from depression believe they can “snap out” of it on their own.

The findings are from a new nationwide poll, the GeneSight Mental Health Monitor.

The research was conducted by scientists from the GeneSight team.

In the poll, the team found while depression is a condition that needs to be treated, 61% of respondents who are concerned they might have depression would not treat it because “my issues aren’t that bad.”

About 4 in 10 (39%) of these consumers think they can manage depression without a doctor’s help.

The findings showed that depression remains a taboo topic among older Americans, despite about one-third of those over the age of 65 who are concerned they have depression recognizing that depression has interfered with their relationships and their ability to enjoy activities.

The team says the ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ mindset of some seniors and reluctance to talk about mental health are hindering them from getting the help they need – especially now when the pandemic is having an enormous impact on the mental health of older Americans.

People will seek treatment for conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Depression is no different. It is an illness that can and should be treated.

One researcher of the study is Dr. Mark Pollack.

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