Feasibility of Integrating Mental Health Screening and Services Into Routine Elder Abuse Practice to Improve Client Outcomes
The goal of this pilot program was to test the feasibility of mental health screening among elder abuse victims and of offering those victims a brief psychotherapy for depression and anxiety. Elder abuse victims who sought assistance from a large, urban elder abuse service were screened for depression and anxiety using standardized measures. Clients with clinically significant depression (PHQ-9) or anxiety (GAD-7) were randomized to receive one of three different interventions concurrent with abuse resolution services. Staff were able to screen 315 individuals, with 34% of clients scoring positive for depression or anxiety. Of those with mental health needs, only 15% refused all services. The mental health intervention (PROTECT) was successfully implemented in two different formats with collaboration between staff workers. These findings support both the need for mental health care among elder abuse victims and the feasibility of integrating mental health screening and treatment into routine elder abuse practice.