The Global Challenge of Mental Health and Ageing, and Scalable Innovations in Mental Health Services for Older Adults

Authored by: Stephen J. Bartels

The Routledge Handbook of International Development, Mental Health and Wellbeing

Print publication date:  June  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367027735
eBook ISBN: 9780429397844
Adobe ISBN:


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Between 2015 and 2050 the World Health Organization estimates that the world’s population of adults aged 60 and older will almost double from 12% to 22%—an absolute increase from 900 million to approximately 2 billion. 1 Increasing life expectancy across the globe due to improvements in basic public health measures have spawned a new era for older adults who can now expect to live longer and pursue a common goal of ‘ageing in community’. However, a paradoxical downside of this increase in longevity is the rapidly growing burden of an older population with complex health and long-term care needs associated with escalating costs, potentially threatening the viability and financial sustainability of health care systems across the world. In the absence of developing affordable and sustainable innovative approaches to the challenge of an ageing population, regional economies are at risk of diverting core resources away from other pressing needs such as preventive, medical, behavioural, and substance abuse services for young adults, as well as investments in education, and regional infrastructure.

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