Mental Health Conference 2005

Depression in Adults 50 & Over: Prevention and Treatment

Depression does not discriminate – it can develop in anyone at any age. Older adults are certainly susceptible; clinical depression, it is estimated, affects more than 6.5 million of the 35 million Americans who are 65 or older. Many older adults have suffered depressive episodes during much of their lives. Additionally, for middle-aged adults, the onset of depression can result from increased caretaking responsibilities, early dementia, retirement or income concerns and other anxieties. Death of a loved one, debilitating injury or illness, increased use of medication and loss of independence can cause the onset of depression in older adults.

Many people mistakenly believe depression is simply a normal part of aging. Frequently, older adults and their families don’t recognize the symptoms of depression, aren’t aware that it is a medical condition and don’t know that, once diagnosed, 80 percent of clinically depressed individuals can be effectively treated. The consequences of this failure to obtain help are tragic. The highest rate of suicide in America is among older white males, Depression is the single most significant risk factor for suicide in that population. And older women are at an even greater risk; women in general are twice as likely as men to become seriously depressed.

The 2005 Conference will address the stigma and lack of information that has resulted in this major national health problem. We will discuss how depression in older adults can be prevented, how it can be detected, how it can be treated and how healthy aging can be achieved. Our speakers will include experts who have studied and treated the illness as well as individuals who have personally experienced depression.

If you want to know more about depression in adults over 50 – whether you are a professional, consumer, family member or part of the concerned public – you should attend the 2005 Community Mental Health Conference.

This Conference is organized by Beth Emet The Free Synagogue. The costs of the Conference are underwritten by the Naomi Ruth Cohen Charitable Institute, an Illinois 501(c)(3) not for profit corporation. The Institute promotes educational programs, such as this Conference, and supports organizations engaged in mental illness research, education, self-help, anti-discrimination and advocacy. Contributions to the Institute may be sent to 1023 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60202.