Around 120,000 older Scots could be living with undiagnosed mental health conditions caused by loneliness and isolation, charities have warned.

A quarter of people aged over 65 experience depression when they feel lonely, leading to other problems with anxiety in some cases.

The Mental Health Foundation and Age Scotland said there is often a reluctance among the older generation to seek help, with almost a third saying they feel they ought to cope with it by themselves.

The charities carried out a survey of 500 people over 65 last month.

It found that new technology could be contributing to loneliness, with 80% saying that spending time face to face with others improves their mental health.

The charities are calling for more action to reduce mental health problems among older people and want to see a Welcome Home Box introduced for discharged patients leaving hospital.

It would include information, advice and a four-week befriending service to link older people with local community groups to cut hospital re-admissions among older people.

The Mental Health Foundation also wants to see s creening for depression upon leaving hospital to flag up older patients at risk of loneliness to social care teams.

Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “Loneliness is a growing public health crisis and should not simply be considered an inevitable part of getting older. This new research shows the devastating toll that it is taking on the mental health and wellbeing of older Scots.


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