Promoting positive mental health messages for the older population: The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) films

The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) offers unique data on the challenges associated with ageing and how these can affect mood as we age: grief, retirement, poorer physical health. We have demonstrated that mood may be affected by loss of support networks such as adult children moving abroad. Over 10% of the older Irish population have significant levels of depression and anxiety which can, in turn, detrimentally affect memory, physical health and a peron's ability to remain independent.
Resources which specifically encourage older people to look after their mental health, however, are lacking. Unfortunately, there remains a stigma associated with talking about our worries or sadness, or seeking help for these from a mental health professional. Such reluctance may be particularly high among older adults whose perceptions may be tainted by Ireland's history of institutionalising those with severe mental health problems. It has been shown, however, that accurate information from trustworthy sources can help break down some of these barriers. Additionally health professionals will benefit from an evidence-informed resource, specific to older adults that they can easily direct patients and carers to.
We propose to create two accessible, easy to understand, "bite-size" films which will fill an important gap in resources for older adults worried about their mental health. Our approach will include a strong public involvement process to refine the messaging on two critical topics:
1) When should I be concerned about my mental health? 2) Why staying connected is crucial for staying well.

Award Date
23 October 2015
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Rose Anne Kenny
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme