Journal of Mental Health and Aging

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Review Article - Journal of Mental Health and Aging (2021) Volume 5, Issue 5

A qualitative study on the mental health needs of elderly in Odisha, Eastern India.

Background: The percentage of elderly has been consistently increasing in India.According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, by 2050, almost 20% of India’s population would be 60 years or above, doubling the current figure. Despite this, geriatric mental illnesses is hardly paid attention to. In the light of the pandemic which affects the elderly more harshly than others, it's important to understand the mental health needs specific to them. The aims of this study were to identify the unmet Mental Health(MH) needs of elderly population in Odisha.

Methods: A cross-sectional, qualitative study was undertaken in five districts of Odisha, selected purposively, ensuring representativeness, using 116 in-depth interviews and nine focus group discussions with elderly people. The interviews were transcribed and translated from Odia to English. Free listing of responses, domain identification, coding, summarization, and cross-tabulation were done. Semi-quantitative approach was used in analysis and presentation of report.

Results: Depression, anxiety, insomnia, somatization, and dementia were the commonly reported mental health problems in elderly people. Loneliness, isolation, neglect, and elder abuse were the major psychosocial issues identified. Lack of social lives and poor utilization of MH services were also observed. Caregiver burden was found to be high and the available family support services were reported to be inadequate.

Conclusions: Mental Health problems were common in elderly, but utilization of MH services was low. This study highlights the need to improve accessibility, availability, and quality of MH services and family-support services for elderly.

Author(s): Biswal Bijayalaxmi

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