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Resources for Older Adults

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SAMHSA has a number of products for serving older adults with mental and substance use disorders that can be useful to clinicians, other service providers, older adults, and caregivers.

Need Help?

  • If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.
  • To learn how to get support for mental health, drug, and alcohol issues, visit FindSupport.gov.
  • To locate treatment facilities or providers, visit FindTreatment.gov or call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).
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New Items from SAMHSA for Professionals Serving Older Adults

2021-2022 Older Adult Behavioral Health
Find key substance use, mental health, and treatment indicators among adults aged 60 or older in the United States, by gender. Estimates were based on combined data from the 2021 and 2022 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

Supporting the Mental Health Needs of Older Adults – State TA Brief Reference Document (1.7 MB)
This concise reference document highlights evidence-based practices (EBPs) that have proven effective in addressing mental health challenges faced by older adults. It offers practical guidance for State Mental Health Agencies and behavioral health services providers on policy development and successful implementation and expansion of EBPs for older adults.

Psychosocial Interventions for Older Adults With Serious Mental Illness
The guide provides considerations and strategies for interdisciplinary teams, peer specialists, clinicians, registered nurses, behavioral health organizations, and policy makers in understanding, selecting, and implementing evidence-based interventions that support older adults with serious mental illness.

Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 26: Treating Substance Use Disorder in Older Adults
This updated TIP is designed to help providers and others better understand how to identify, manage, and prevent substance misuse in older adults. The TIP describes the unique ways in which the signs and symptoms of substance use disorder (SUD) manifest in older adults; drug and alcohol use disorder screening tools, assessments, and treatments specifically tailored for older clients' needs; the interaction between SUDs and cognitive impairment; and strategies to help providers improve their older clients' social functioning and overall wellness.

Engage, Educate, Empower for Equity: E4 Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Disparities in Aging
The mission of the E4 Center is to engage, empower, and educate health care providers and community-based organizations for equity in behavioral health for older adults and their families. E4 will achieve this through the provision of education, implementation resources, and technical assistance regarding mental health, substance use, and their intersection with physical health.

Get Connected: Linking Older Adults with Resources on Medication, Alcohol, and Mental Health–2019 Edition
Designed for organizations that provide services to older adults, this toolkit offers information and materials to help in understanding the issues associated with substance misuse and mental illness in older adults. The toolkit also contains materials to educate older adults.

Older Adults Living with Serious Mental Illness: The State of the Behavioral Health Workforce
This brief provides an overview of workforce issues to consider when addressing the needs of older adults living with serious mental illness (SMI). Information includes demographics; challenges faced by a provider workforce, and ideas for strengthening the geriatric workforce to address SMI.

Items for Older Adults on Suicide Prevention and Postvention

Older Veteran Behavioral Health Resource Inventory (PDF | 3.2 MB)
This inventory provides information on resources to help health and social service professionals support older Veterans and other older adults who have or are at risk for behavioral health conditions. It also provides an overview of programs and publications on topics including posttraumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention, long-term services and supports, and much more.

Promoting Emotional Health and Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for Senior Centers and Toolkit for Senior Living Communities
The toolkits equip senior centers (also in Spanish) and senior living staff with resources to promote mental health, suicide prevention, and encourages active participation among residents. It includes guidelines for integrating suicide prevention into ongoing programs, hands-on tools, and training manuals.

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Technology Transfer Center (TTC) Resources for Older Adults

TTC's develop and strengthen the specialized behavioral healthcare and primary healthcare workforce that provides prevention, treatment and recovery support services for substance use disorder (SUD) and mental illness.

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Additional Resources Serving Older Adults

Find more resources from other centers including the Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the E4 Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Disparities in Aging, and more.

Last Updated
Last Updated: 04/11/2024
Last Updated