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C. Attitudes about Psychiatric Help Shift in Seniors

Narrator: This is Science Today. Depression in late life is all too common. The elderly often face a host of problems, including chronic illness, the loss of loved ones or the loss of independence. Psychiatrist Patricia Arean, of the University of California, San Francisco says in the past, the elderly didn't tend to seek help for depression.

Arean: When I first started in geriatrics fifteen years ago, there was the tendency to hear "I was brought up to just pull myself up by my bootstraps and just deal with it" and seeking help was an indicator that you were weak in some way.

Narrator: But as baby boomers are becoming geriatric, Arean says attitudes about seeking psychiatric help are shifting - yet, there is still some resistance due to stigma.

Arean: And so what we try to do in our research group is to find places where delivery of how services might be more acceptable, so one area is in primary care medicine. So we've done some research where we asked older patients who were depressed where would they prefer to seek help and the majority of patients would rather work in primary care medicine.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.