Local News

September 11, 2013

Seniors' breakfast to focus on mental health

PLATTSBURGH — Two of the area’s most respected leaders in health care will provide seniors with information on mental-health services during an upcoming breakfast at the Senior Citizens Center here.

Dr. Richard Frost, a retired physician who was an integral member of the CVPH Health Clinic for decades, and Sherrie Gillette, director of the Clinton County Department of Mental Health Services, will talk about mental-health prevention during the Aging in Place Breakfast on Sept. 19.

“As people get older, there seems to be some problems with identifying mental-health concerns with certain individuals,” said Crystal Carter, executive director for the Clinton County Office for the Aging.

“We sometimes get in the habit of saying, ‘You’ve lost a spouse, you’ve gone through a lot of losses in life, you’ve lost mobility, so maybe you’re depressed. Being depressed is not a normal part of aging. There are things you can do to combat those feelings.”

A major problem both nationally and on the local level is that seniors may be falling through the cracks when it comes to mental-health services.

“One of our concerns here in the county is that we think people may be experiencing depression or anxiety or other kinds of mental-health problems that are not being recognized, and they’re not getting the help they need,” Gillette said.

“They do not have to feel the way they feel,” she added. “We want to get the information out to them that help is available.”

The upcoming discussion will focus on steps seniors can take to alleviate depression and identify resources that are available for help with mental-health concerns.

“For instance, if a person loses the ability to drive, we can talk about what they can do to access public transportation, so they are still getting around to where they need to go,” Carter said.

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