Supporting Older Adults with Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders During COVID-19

Date: April 07, 2022
Time to read: 2 minutes.

The loss of friends and family due to COVID-19, continued isolation due to the fear of contracting COVID-19, economic job loss, and barriers with accessing health care services during the pandemic, are factors that contributed to an increase in mental health conditions and substance use disorders (SUD) during the COVID-19 pandemic.1 The pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health and substance use support, particularly for older adults disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Older adults aged 50 to 80 reported worse depression, worse anxiety, and increased trouble with sleep during the COVID-19 pandemic.2 With approximately 62 percent of individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid over the age of 65, it is important for health plans and providers to implement promising practices that can address the behavioral health needs of dually eligible older adults.3 The resources in the resource guide include articles, websites, and webinars aimed at supporting older adults in their mental health and substance use needs. This resource guide is intended for caregivers, healthcare professionals, and health plans serving dually eligible older adults.

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1 Kearney, A., Hamel, L., & Brodie, M. (2021). Mental Health Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Update. KFF. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/poll-finding/mental-health-impact-of-the-covid-19-pandemic/.

2 National Poll on Health Aging. (2021). Mental Health Among Older Adults Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.healthyagingpoll.org/reports-more/report/mental-health-among-older-adults-and-during-covid-19-pandemic.

3 CMS Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office. (2020). Data Analysis Brief: Medicare-Medicaid Dual Enrollment from 2006 through 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/medicaremedicaiddualenrollmenteverenrolledtrendsdatabrief.pdf.