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AARP AARP States Washington Health & Wellbeing

It’s OK not to be OK: Mental Health and Older Adults

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As we continue to navigate these challenging times, it’s essential to prioritize mental well-being. This is especially true for older adults, who may be reluctant to seek support due to stigma, misconceptions about mental health services, and lack of awareness about available resources. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers multiple programs aimed at improving the mental health and well-being of all ages.

For instance, SAMHSA's National Helpline offers free, confidential treatment referral and information services for individuals and families facing mental and substance use disorders. To access this service, simply call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or TTY 1-800-487-4889. The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. You can also request support by sending your zip code via text to 435748.


The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a beacon of hope, offering immediate, confidential support for those in emotional distress. Available 24/7, callers connect with compassionate counselors trained to listen and provide the help needed. It's a service that respects privacy and understands the importance of a supportive voice during tough times. Whether it's for oneself or a concern for a loved one, dialing or texting 988 can help prevent suicides and save lives.

Washington’s tribal communities also have a dedicated crisis hotline called the Native and Strong Lifeline. Calls are answered by Native crisis counselors who are tribal members and descendants closely tied to their communities, who are fully trained in crisis intervention and support, with special emphasis on cultural and traditional practices related to healing. The service is an option when calling the 988 hotline. Callers can choose option 4 to be connected to the Native and Strong Lifeline.


For veterans, the Veterans Crisis Line provides free, confidential support tailored to address the unique challenges faced by those who have served in the military. Veterans or their loved ones can dial 988 and press 1 for help, or you can text 838255. Care doesn’t end when the conversation is over. Responders can connect you with the resources you need. You don’t have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to use the Veterans Crisis Line. is an online guide that helps individuals navigate the complexities of mental health care. It provides a wealth of information on how to cope with various mental health issues, learn about different treatment options, and understand how to pay for treatment. This resource is invaluable for those beginning their journey toward recovery. provides a comprehensive directory of certified substance use and mental health treatment facilities, opioid treatment programs, buprenorphine practitioners, and healthcare centers. This platform empowers individuals to find the care they need, offering a searchable database of providers across the United States.

These resources are not just a network of support, but a lifeline that is easily accessible, always available, and dedicated to the mental health and well-being of all individuals. They emphasize the importance of timely intervention and the availability of professional help, ensuring that no one has to face their struggles alone.

Remember, mental health is just as important as physical health, and people and services are ready to support you on this journey. These resources are here for you, without judgment, ready to help you on your path to wellness. Let's break the stigma and encourage a culture of care and support for mental well-being at every stage of life.

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