Older adults, those aged 60 or above, make important contributions to society as family members, volunteers, and active participants in the workforce. While most have good mental health, many older adults are at risk of developing mental disorders, neurological disorders or substance use problems as well as other health conditions such as diabetes, hearing loss, and osteoarthritis. Furthermore, as people age, they are more likely to experience several conditions at the same time.

Over 20% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental or neurological disorder (excluding headache disorders) and 6.6% of all disability (disability-adjusted life years-DALYs) among people over 60 years is attributed to mental and neurological disorders. These disorders in older people account for 17.4% of Years Lived with Disability (YLDs). The most common mental and neurological disorders in this age group are dementia and depression, which affect approximately 5% and 7% of the world’s older population, respectively. Anxiety disorders affect 3.8% of the older population, substance use problems affect almost 1%, and around a quarter of deaths from self-harm are among people aged 60 or above. Substance abuse problems among older people are often overlooked or misdiagnosed.

Mental health problems are under-identified by healthcare professionals and older people themselves, and the stigma surrounding these conditions makes people reluctant to seek help. That’s why FICSS established Senior Learning About their Yearnings(SLAY), a program dedicated to individuals older than 50 in need of additional support. SLAY offers mental health, substance use, STIs counseling, and education to seniors citizen to help them live a healthier life while aging.

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