Chelsea Couch, HHSC Statewide Texercise Coordinator
Engaging in healthy behaviors as we age can help ensure we experience the best quality of life possible. Healthy aging is not just about physical activity and nutrition. It’s also about taking care of our mental health. Participating in healthy activities, staying connected to our communities, and being aware of available services and supports helps us age and live well.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issue brief, The State of Mental Health and Aging in America, approximately 20% of people ages 55 or older experience some type of mental health concern. The most common of these are anxiety, severe cognitive impairment and mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder.
According to America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, Texas ranked 34th for depression for people 65 and older. By engaging in regular physical activity and having a healthy diet, staying connected to the community and being informed of available resources, we can help to improve our mental health.
Resources for Older Adults
There are resources at the state and federal level that can help us take care of our mental health.
• The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Adult Mental Health program provides information and resources to assist adults experiencing mental health concerns, including peer support, community-based resources and more. Visit HHSC Adult Mental Health for more information.
• HHSC Texercise supports older Texans who want to set physical activity and nutrition goals. Regular physical activity and a healthy diet can help improve mental health. Visit Texercise to learn how to incorporate exercise and healthy eating into an everyday routine.
• The HHSC Age Well Live Well campaign provides resources for individuals and communities to prepare for all aspects of aging, including how to stay connected. Staying connected to others and our communities can help improve our mental health. Use the Aging Well Resources Order Form and search “Social Engagement” in the category field.
• Mental Health Texas provides information and resources on mental health for all ages. Information is provided for a variety of populations, conditions and more.
Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource for veterans of all ages and circumstances. Call 988 then press 1, text 838255, or chat online to connect with 24/7 support.
Disaster Distress Line Helpline from SAMHSA provides immediate crisis counseling for people experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. The helpline is free, multilingual, confidential and available 24/7. Call or text 800-985-5990.