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A systematic scoping review of community-based interventions for the prevention of mental ill-health and the promotion of mental health in older adults in the UK.

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Kuhn, Isla 
McGrath, Michael 
Remes, Olivia 


BACKGROUND: Mental health concerns in older adults are common, with increasing age-related risks to physical health, mobility and social isolation. Community-based approaches are a key focus of public health strategy in the UK, and may reduce the impact of these risks, protecting mental health and promoting wellbeing. We conducted a review of UK community-based interventions to understand the types of intervention studied and mental health/wellbeing impacts reported. METHOD: We conducted a scoping review of the literature, systematically searching six electronic databases (2000-2020) to identify academic studies of any non-clinical community intervention to improve mental health or wellbeing outcomes for older adults. Data were extracted, grouped by population targeted, intervention type, and outcomes reported, and synthesised according to a framework categorising community actions targeting older adults. RESULTS: In total, 1,131 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility and 54 included in the final synthesis. Example interventions included: link workers; telephone helplines; befriending; digital support services; group social activities. These were grouped into: connector services, gateway services/approaches, direct interventions and systems approaches. These interventions aimed to address key risk factors: loneliness, social isolation, being a caregiver and living with long-term health conditions. Outcome measurement varied greatly, confounding strong evidence in favour of particular intervention types. CONCLUSION: The literature is wide-ranging in focus and methodology. Greater specificity and consistency in outcome measurement are required to evidence effectiveness - no single category of intervention yet stands out as 'promising'. More robust evidence on the active components of interventions to promote older adult's mental health is required.



community interventions, older age, public mental health, Aged, Community Participation, Humans, Loneliness, Mental Health, Social Isolation, United Kingdom

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Health Soc Care Community

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Hindawi Limited


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Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (PD-SPH-2015-10029 BH154142)
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Public Health Research (SPHR)