The University of Otago has launched the first ever national survey in New Zealand to investigate the challenges of growing older with mental illness. They are seeking individuals aged 55 years or older, who are currently seeing someone for their mental health, to fill out the survey.

As New Zealand undergoes a substantial shift towards an ageing population, more effort needs to be made to reduce inequities for people with long-term mental health conditions. A recent finding from the Mental Health Inquiry looks at the severe lack of mental health services that are appropriate for older adults.

The survey will ask questions surrounding the challenges and preferences of those living with mental illness. The survey will explore topics surrounding social support and isolation, employment and retirement, housing and stigma and discrimination.

At a time where there is limited availability of good national data relating to the quality of older adult’s mental health services, the University hopes this research will “lead the way towards improving mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand”.

This work is particularly urgent in light of recent findings that older adults using mental health and addiction services have more than twice the risk of death when compared to the New Zealand population.

The University of Otago is seeking individuals who are aged 55 years or older who are currently seeing someone for their mental health, to fill out the survey. A copy can be requested from mental-health@otago.ac.nz.

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