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By ontrak
January 23, 2023

Addressing the Growing Behavioral Health Crisis Among Seniors

How health plans can overcome barriers to care to maximize durable healthcare outcomes and cost savings.

Behavioral health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder are growing among seniors age 65 and older. According to the Kaiser Foundation, 1 in 4 seniors1 report symptoms of depression or anxiety. Meanwhile, the National Institute of Health reports that 65 percent of seniors2 engage in high-risk alcohol consumption. In total, more than 1 million seniors are living with substance use disorder, many dependent on prescription medications and opioids.

Unfortunately, behavioral health conditions are often very difficult to recognize and diagnose. And because research data relies on surveys and self-reporting, there’s a high probability that we’re ultimately undercounting the prevalence of these conditions. 

At the same time, the pandemic has likely amplified these issues. Given social isolation and widespread illness, there’s mounting evidence3 that more seniors than ever have developed symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

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