WORLD Mental Health Day celebrations in Suva paid homage to the debilitating effect of mental illnesses on the elderly with the theme "Mental Health and Older Adults".
NGOs joined mental health patients, former patients, the Health Ministry and well-wishers for the day. St Giles superintendent Dr Peni Biukoto said the day was normally celebrated on October 10 but this was done yesterday because of Fiji Day celebrations.
"We want to use this day to remember older adults because often times they are the ones who do not receive mental health services," he said.
Dr Biukoto said mental health issues increased with age because of isolation and humans suffering different kinds of loss.
"The incidence of depression becomes more common or increases in the older age group because they experience a lot of loss in their life — physical loss, loss of employment, spouses, supporting network," he said. "The other mental illness that is commonly associated with old age is dementia where they experience memory loss until it gradually gets to the point where they are totally dependent on their loved ones."