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News and Views
September 1999

Consensus Statement on the Upcoming Crisis in Geriatric Mental Health: Research Agenda for the Next 2 Decades

Author Affiliations

From the University of California, San Diego (Drs Jeste, Palmer, and Patterson and Ms Halpain); VA San Diego Healthcare System (Drs Jeste and Patterson); Cornell Medical Center, White Plains, NY (Dr Alexopoulos); Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH (Dr Bartels); University of California, Los Angeles (Dr Cummings); The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md (Dr Gallo); Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (Dr Gottlieb); University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pa (Dr Reynolds); and the National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, Md (Dr Lebowitz).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999;56(9):848-853. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.56.9.848

It is anticipated that the number of people older than 65 years with psychiatric disorders in the United States will increase from about 4 million in 1970 to15 million in 2030. The current health care system serves mentally ill older adults poorly and is unprepared to meet the upcoming crisis in geriatric mental health. We recommend the formulation of a 15- to 25-year plan for research on mental disorders in elderly persons. It should include studies of prevention, translation of findings from bench to bedside, large-scale intervention trials with meaningful outcome measures, and health services research. Innovative strategies are needed to formulate new conceptualizations of psychiatric disorders, especially those given scant attention in the past. New methods of clinical and research training involving specialists, primary care clinicians, and the lay public are warranted.

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