Behavioral Health & Older Adults

Time to read: 2 minutes.

Among beneficiaries dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, 41% have a mental health condition compared to 16% of Medicare-only beneficiaries.1 One in four older adults experience a mental health condition, yet older adults underutilize behavioral health services.2,3  

Older Americans may underutilize mental health services because of inadequate funding for mental health services; lack of collaboration and coordination among primary care, mental health and aging service providers; access barriers; stigma surrounding mental illness and treatment; denial of problems; or lack of trained professionals in the provision of geriatric mental health services.4 

As the number of Americans aged 65 and older continues to increase, it is important for health plans and providers to implement promising practices that address the behavioral health needs of older adults. Resources for Integrated Care has developed resources for providers and plans serving dually eligible beneficiaries who are older and have behavioral health conditions. These resources include promising practices and experiences from providers in the field to support the delivery of integrated care that care is tailored to the needs of these individuals. 

1 The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office. (2012). Medicare-Medicaid Enrollee Information: National, 2012. Retrieved from:

2 American Psychological Association, Office on Aging. (2017). Older Adults’ Health and Age-Related Changes: Reality Versus Myth. Retrieved from:

3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging. (2001). Older adults and mental health: Issues and opportunities. Retrieved from:

4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging. (2001). Older adults and mental health: Issues and opportunities. Washington, DC: Author.