DkIT Research into Online Mental Health Supports for Older People06 October 2023
Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) are ardent supporters of Mental Health for all age groups within the community. October 10th is World Mental Health Day and this year the theme is ‘Mental Health is a Universal Human Right’. Much has been done in recent years to highlight the importance of addressing challenges such as depression, thoughts of self-harm, anxiety, loneliness, and other conditions. Indeed, in a recent survey conducted by Healthy Louth the theme of mental health, particularly for children and young people, was the top-ranking health priority identified by people of all ages across Louth.
A research project based in DkIT is focusing on older adults (aged 60+) mental health requirements and care. Older people are often excluded from discussions about mental health needs or supports and frequently face barriers in accessing traditional, face-to-face psychotherapy, from physical limitations, transport, or cost, to stigma about needing help and lack of knowledge about available mental health services. Ensuring people of all ages have access to resources to support good mental health, as a human right, means looking at new options. Online psychotherapy, such as by video call over the internet, can offer an alternative for older adults who cannot access face-to-face therapy or would prefer to participate in sessions remotely. However, little is known about how receptive older people are to this form of mental health service.
Services are often developed with little input from the people who are intended to use them. Postgraduate student, Siofra Mc Crum, from NetwellCASALA Research Centre for Ageing, at Dundalk Institute of Technology, is asking older people in the region what they think of psychotherapy and the online approach.
‘At a time when so many services are moving online, this study is designed to hear what older people have to say about accessing psychotherapy and attitudes about going online, as a real option,’
says Suzanne Smith, NetwellCASALA’s centre manager,
If you are over 60 years of age, and interested in contributing your views, contact Siofra McCrum at email@example.com or call NetwellCASALA at (042) 937 0497 for more information.