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LIVING 50-PLUS: RCMH program offers mental-health care for seniors

By Joy Tipping/Richmond News Managing Editor

Lacey Sullenger, licensed practical nurse and program director of Senior Life Solutions at Ray County Memorial Hospital stands next to a sign that she made with help from her mother and father, Denise and Danny Dixon, for the program’s group-therapy room. The signs positive words are meant to inspire and spur conversation among program participants. (Photo by Joy Tipping/Richmond News)

Since 1949, Mental Health America and its nationwide affiliates have observed May Is Mental Health Month, a time to spread the word that mental health affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives — either by having mental-health problems themselves, or seeing mental illness among their friends, loved ones and/or community.

Most important, MHA strives to help people understand mental illnesses are both common and treatable.

For the ever-growing older population of America, particularly in rural areas, the problem can be profound, says Lacey Sullenger, licensed practical nurse and program director of Senior Life Solutions at Ray County Memorial Hospital. “Symptoms of depression and anxiety often go unnoticed or overlooked, and even the person experiencing these feelings may think this is a normal part of aging,” she says.

“Older adults need to know that they don’t have to feel this way, that it doesn’t have to be their ‘norm’,” she adds. According to a recent study by MHA, she notes, about 58 percent of people age 65 and older believe it is “normal” for people to get depressed as they grow older.

The full story appears in the Friday, May 18, edition of The Richmond News.

 

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