Mental illnesses are not part of the normal aging process – they can and should be treated. As Oklahoma’s population ages, the need for effective behavioral health systems and services for older Oklahomans will continue increasing. Although Oklahoma has taken steps to prioritize older adult mental health in recent years, the state still ranks 46th in the nation for depression among those 65 and older. It has a relatively high of suicide, depression, and other poor mental health outcomes among older adults, and services and practices specific to this population are often overlooked and underutilized.
This issue provides an overview of the older adult behavioral health landscape in Oklahoma for treatable mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety (excluding dementia), with considerations for policy and practice next steps.