Calmer Life: A Hybrid Effectiveness-implementation Trial for Late-life Anxiety Conducted in Low-income, Mental Health-Underserved Communities

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Abstract

Objective:

Anxiety is common among older adults and is associated with multiple negative outcomes. Late-life anxiety is usually unrecognized by providers and undertreated, although evidence supports the effectiveness of psychosocial treatment. Access to mental health care is especially poor among African American seniors. New treatment models are needed to expand the reach of mental health care to minority elders.

Methods:

Our article outlines a study designed to test the effectiveness and implementation potential of Calmer Life (CL), a community-based, person-centered, flexible and culturally tailored intervention for late-life anxiety and worry, offered in low-income, mental health-underserved and predominantly African American communities. CL is skills-based, but also includes resource counseling and an option to integrate religion/spirituality. The study population includes individuals 50 years of age and older who are experiencing high levels of worry. The program was developed in the context of a community-academic partnership with organizations that provide services for seniors in underserved communities, and it trains nontraditional community providers to deliver the intervention.

Results:

Study progress to date, challenges, and lessons learned are discussed. Data collection is ongoing, and study findings will be available in late 2017.

Conclusions:

CL will offer valuable information to help expand the reach of anxiety treatment among minority seniors living in underserved neighborhoods.

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