SPOP’s mission is to enhance the quality of life of older adults and to foster their independent living through the delivery of comprehensive mental health and supportive services, advocacy and education.
There was a time when older adults, struggling with the emotional and social challenges of aging, had little recourse beyond family support. The death of a loved one, the onset of depression or the loss of independence often made life difficult to endure.
SPOP was one of the first agencies in the U.S. dedicated to meeting the comprehensive mental health needs of older adults living in the community. Founded in 1972 as part of Selfhelp Community Services and originally known as New York Service Program for Older People, the agency was developed by a consortium of health care and social service providers that recognized the need for mental health services among the older population of Manhattan’s West Side. SPOP became independent in 1979 with funding from the New York City Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation & Alcoholism Services (now the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene). In 2006, the agency’s name was changed to Service Program for Older People.
Over the course of four decades SPOP has expanded to include a wide range of mental health and support services, delivered in numerous locations throughout Manhattan. Today SPOP remains one of only a handful organizations in New York City that focus exclusively on the mental health needs of older adults.
Funding for SPOP is provided by city and state agencies; Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance reimbursements; client fees; and foundations, corporations, individuals, and government entities.