The National Institute of Mental Health has released information that states up to five percent of all people over 50 suffer from major depression. That percentage rises to 13.5 percent in those people who require home healthcare and to 11.5 percent in senior-age hospital patients.
One local agency is helping senior adults battle depression and find happiness. Inspirations Outpatient Counseling Center, a program associated with Walker Baptist Medical Center, offers support and compassionate care to seniors through group and individual therapy. Brigette Scott, Inspirations community educator, shared information about the program Monday with members of the Kiwanis Club of Jasper.
"I've been doing this for almost one year, and I have absolutely found a new passion," she said.
Scott, a 1979 graduate of Walker High School, has had a long career in radio and currently hosts a nationally-syndicated gospel countdown show each Sunday morning on 98.7 Kiss-FM in Birmingham.
"I love radio, but I just do that part time now," she said. "This, Inspirations, is my full-time passion. I love every minute of my work."
Scott said the program helps seniors who struggle with stress and daily living. She said patients interact with other seniors in group settings as well as spend time with licensed therapists, nurses and a staff doctor.
"All our patients have one disease in common; that is depression," she said. "As you get older, you have more events happen in your life. You lose loved ones, divorce or have other changes that could cause depression. We help seniors fight through those moments and learn to live without depression."
The program also accepts younger clients in special situations.
"We've had someone as young as in their 30s," Scott said. "If someone is on Medicare, they can qualify for our program. We want to be able to help as many people as we can."
Group sessions are held each Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, while individual sessions are held on Tuesdays. Lunch is included with the daily sessions.
"We have a lot of fun during our sessions," Scott said. "Today is 'Movie Monday,' and they are watching 'Walk the Line.' I'm missing the movie right now. We also do bingo and show-and-tell. We all have a great time."
For more information on the Inspirations program, call 205-384-3355.