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Mental health & well-being

Taking control of your mental health

Mental well-being means the positive ability to enjoy life and cope with its difficulties and challenges.

Ageing does not have to mean a decline in mental health. There are many ways in which you can maintain good mental health, even if physical and health issues are making life more of a challenge. Just as we care for our bodies, we need to look after and exercise our minds.

Being a bit forgetful can often come with age, and does not mean you have dementia.

We all feel a little sad or down from time to time but feeling down is not the same as being depressed or having depression. Take steps to help prevent depression. Depression can affect older people. Many older people experience psychological or emotional distress associated with factors linked to old age, including loss of independence, loneliness and losses of many kinds, including bereavements. If you feel unable to cope it is important to tell your GP, don't suffer in silence and get help.

General tips

  • Look after your health by eating a healthy diet, taking some regular exercise and taking medication correctly.
  • Keep yourself busy and occupied - gardening, crosswords, computers and social networks, outings and events.
  • Keep learning - try something new or rediscover an old interest.
  • Keep in touch - chat to friends and family on the phone or arrange for visits and outings together.
  • Get a pet if you feel it would benefit you and if you are able to look after it.
  • Ask for help if you need it.


  1. My husband seems really confused.
  2. Could this be a sign of dementia?
  3. The Dementia Care Advisor can help; call Suffolk PALS on 0800 585544 or direct dial 01473 329110 or Alzheimer's Society Ipswich and East Suffolk 01473 237301 or West Suffolk 01284 766433 or visit www.dementiawebsuffolk.org.uk.

Useful webpage: Mental health & wellbeing

Coping with depression

Recognising symptoms of depression and getting help early is important. Depression can just happen, but often it it 'triggered' by things that happen like losing a partner or illness.

Symptoms may include loss of appetite, being unable to sleep, weight loss, and having little energy. Talk to your GP if you are affected by a combination of symptoms for a period of time.


Dementia is a common concern for many as they grow older.  Symptoms, such as forgetfulness, confusion, and emotional outbursts may not be recognised as dementia at first, but may gradually worsen.  If you think you or your partner are being affected by dementia, talk to your GP.


Northumberland Tyne and Wear CCG have produced some useful leafets around Anxiety. 

You can find some useful self-help guides on their website.

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