"The Lost Generation", a new report from Welsh mental health charity Hafal, highlights the isolation and loneliness experienced by older people with severe mental illness.

New research from Hafal focusing on older people and mental health

Hafal worked with charities, including Bipolar UK, Diverse Cymru and Crossroads Care Mid & West Wales, on the project.

Over 150 people were asked about issues facing older people in Wales who live with severe mental ill health. Over half (53%) of respondents cited isolation and loneliness as their most pressing concern.

The research also found that getting the correct support and treatment for mental health is a big challenge for older people, as well as managing personal care, finances and accommodation.

Frank Kitt, campaigner and spokesperson for the research, said:

“I’m afraid the research conducted by the High Needs Collaborative this year didn’t reveal a very happy story: we found a group of people who are often very lonely and isolated and don’t feel well supported.

“As a result we are calling for opportunities for social contact and mutual support for older people with a mental illness and their carers to be made available in all parts of Wales – through befriending schemes, mutual support groups and carer groups, etc.

“And we would like a new standard for Care and Treatment Plans where specific actions on loneliness and social life for the lost generation are always recorded under the ‘Social, cultural and spiritual’ heading.”

Older people with severe mental illness find it a challenge to access support usually tailored to people of working age and they're not usually suited to services catering for illness associated with old age, such as dementia.

Download the full report from Hafal here.