Mental Health Programs

Bilingual Mental Health Outreach Program for Malden, Everett, Chelsea, and Revere

More and more people are talking about and experienceing behavioral health issues including loneliness, social isolation, and emotional changes. What resources are available and where can you turn? The Mental Health Bilingual Outreach Program is here to help. This new grant-funded initiative is available to Spanish-speaking residents of Malden, Everett, Chelsea, and Revere who are 60 years of age or older. Spanish-speaking older adults are often confronted with unique barriers to receiving assistance but this new program is here to help. The Mental Health Bilingual Outreach Program offers person-centered, strength-based mental health assistance from bilingual staff who will help support Spanish-speaking older adults to maintain independence and dignity.

Our bilingual Mental Health Outreach Worker can:

  • assess, refer, and provide timely assistance to older adults in need or distress
  • evaluate Spanish speaking older adults’ needs for support in the community
  • help older adults seek and navigate behavioral health care services and treatment
  • work with health care partners to identify and refer older adults who may be at-risk
  • connect older adults to additional programs and services that may benefit them

If you are concerned about your mental health, or someone you love, there are options available. You are not alone – speaking with someone can make a difference.

To learn more about the bilingual Mental Health Outreach Program or to make a referral, call 781-324-7705 or email us at

The new program is funded through a grant awarded to the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs and support from Winchester Hospital- a member of Beth Israel Lahey Health.

Here are some questions to consider if you think you, or a friend/loved one, may benefit from speaking with our new Spanish-Speaking Mental Health Outreach Worker.

  • Have things that used to feel easy started feeling difficult?
  • Does the idea of doing daily tasks like making your bed now feel really, really hard?
  • Have you lost interest in activities and hobbies you used to enjoy?
  • Do you feel irritated; possibly to the point of lashing out at people you care about?
  • Are you feeling increased sadness or worry lately?
  • Have you been nervous or experiencing more stress these days?
  • Do you feel lonelier these days? Have you lost interest in activities you used to enjoy?

Mobile Mental Health Program

When it comes to the mental health of older adults, the bottom line is this; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it “must be recognized and treated with the same urgency as physical health.” Mystic Valley Elder Services wholeheartedly agree with that recommendation and provide services to support the mental health of our consumers. Here is why it is so important.

Good mental health is essential if an individual is to age well and avoid the ravages of depression, anxiety, and mental illness. The mental health of older Americans impacts overall physical and emotional health, and the ability to engage in life.

Although many older people report some type of mental health concern, the good news is that most older adults say they are happy with their lives. Only 20 percent of people age 55 years or older experience some type of mental health concern.

Statistics gathered through the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a survey conducted in all 50 states, provides a snapshot of older adults’ mental health, both positive and negative. For those suffering with mental health issues, the survey showed:

  • The most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders including depression or bipolar disorder
  • Mental health issues are often implicated as a factor in cases of suicide
  • Older men have the highest suicide rate of any age group
    • Men aged 85 years or older have a suicide rate of 45.23 per 100,000, compared to an overall rate of 11.01 per 100,000 for all ages
  • Women age 50 or older reported more current and lifetime diagnosis of depression than men
    • 9% compared to 6.2% for current depressive symptoms
    • 1% compared to 11.7% for lifetime diagnosis

For those who are happy with their lives, the survey showed:

  • Nearly 95% of adults age 50 or older reported being “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their lives
  • Only 9.2% of adults 50 or older report frequent mental distress
  • Only 6.5% of adults 65 or older report frequent mental distress

When older adults indicate they feel a general sense of satisfaction with their lives, it may be because they can access support and mental health services for older adults. Ninety percent of adults 50 or older report they are getting the support they need like:

  • Emotional support and information
  • Lifestyle support like transportation and in-home assistance

These services help an individual to feel connected, supported, and independent, instead of isolated and unable to engage in life. For older adults to access the right type of assistance for their needs, services must be available broadly across demographic boundaries. Those older adults who say they “rarely or never” receive the social support they need include:

  • Twelve percent of adults age 65 or older
  • One-fifth of Hispanic and other minorities
  • 11 percent of men over the age of 50

Mental health can be a slippery slope

Although many types of mental illness, such as depression, can be successfully treated, there are unique challenges when trying to address these conditions in the older adult population.

1: Diagnosing mental health issues in older adults can be especially challenging. Many older adults concentrate on reporting physical ailments to their physicians and are reticent to discuss how they feel mentally and emotionally.

2: Older adults can be resistant to getting treatment for mental health issues. They may believe they can “get over it” by themselves. They may fear that a diagnosis of mental illness will result in them being removed from their homes. Yet others may feel there is a stigma attached to discussing mental health issues.

These issues make it essential that family members be aware of a older adult loved one’s behavior and any changes. If you know the risk factors and symptoms of depression, you can identify them early and intervene to get effective treatment

The risk factors for depression and other types of mental illness include:

  • Widowhood
  • Physical illness
  • Impaired functional status, physical, emotional or cognitive
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Low education of grades less than high school (impairs ability/knowledge to find support)

 Signs & symptoms of mental illness

If your older adult loved one exhibits any of the following signs, keep track of how long they exhibit the symptoms. If it is more than a couple of days, seek help. Some of the symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Withdrawal from previously enjoyed activities
  • Refusal to join social activities
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Physical discomfort, aches and pains without any diagnosed cause

We know that older adults want to live active, engaged lives. The right diagnosis and treatment for mental health issues will help to ensure that your loved one does not fall victim to anxiety and depression and can remain healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally.

If you need professional help, Mystic Valley Elder Services operates a Mobile Mental Health program for older adults who need professional mental health services but are unable to leave their homes for treatment or counseling. Through its Mobile Mental Health program, clinical caseworkers provide outreach to elders experiencing mental health conditions that impact their functioning and ability to get their needs met. To find out more about this program, call us at 781-324-7705.



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