Television and mental health

The Importance of Television for our Mental Health

“The UK has an ageing population. By 2030, one in five people in the UK (21.8%) will be aged 65 or over, 6.8% will be aged 75+ and 3.2% will be aged 85+. As many as 49% of older people (equivalent to over 5 million individuals) say their television or pets are their main form of company. Televison’s importance really can’t be exaggerated, especially for these people who, as they age, are increasingly likely to suffer loneliness, bereavement, illness and disability. TV doesn’t cure these struggles, but it can make them easier to live with.”

With the debate over the free TV licence for over-75s continuing to rage, we hear from Jolie Goodman about the importance of television for our mental health – especially as we age.

TV Licence

Saving the Free TV Licence

“When mobility issues mean you struggle to get out and about, the TV helps you stay connected. When money is a constant worry, it’s a way to escape. And when you spend your days alone, it gives you something to rely on, something to look forward to. For over a million of the oldest people in our society, TV is their main form of company. It’s not just ‘the box in the corner’, it’s a window to the world, and a human voice when they’ve not spoken to another person in days.”

Following the news that the BBC plans to means test the TV licence for the over 75s, we explain why the free TV licence is such a valuable resource and why means testing isn’t as fair as you might think.