According to the report, two thirds of older people with depression have never discussed it with their GPs, and of those that do, only half are diagnosed and treated. The authors calculate that this means only 15 per cent of those with depression are diagnosed.
The UK Inquiry into Mental Health and WellBeing in Later Life, supported by Age Concern, found that older peoples' mental health issues were poorly understood, highly stigmatised and under-prioritised in policy, practice and research.
Chairman of the inquiry Dr June Crown said: "Mental health problems in later life are not an inevitable part of ageing. They are often preventable and treatable, and action to improve the lives of older people who experience mental health difficulties is long overdue. Current services for older people with mental health problems are inadequate in range, in quantity and in quality."