Webinars address mental health care for older people


Friday, 12 April, 2024

Webinars address mental health care for older people

Mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression have a high prevalence among older Australians, affecting at least 40% of aged care residents.

To help address the issue, leaders in the field of mental health in aged care — together with La Trobe University and aged care provider Uniting AgeWell — have joined forces to present the 2024 National Mental Health Webinar Series to address the urgent need for better mental health care for people living in residential aged care services.

Joseph Ibrahim, Professor at the Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care (ACEBAC) at La Trobe University, is the 2024 National Mental Health Webinar Series convenor and facilitator. He has been working in partnership with Uniting AgeWell to bring this initiative to fruition.

“We want to promote existing services and provide education for staff involved in the sector to stimulate partnerships with the health system, and this initiative brings together a wide range of academic and clinical organisation partners who are leaders in aged care and mental health services,” he said.

These organisations include: the Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care, La Trobe University; Uniting AgeWell; Binational Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age, the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne; School of Psychiatry, The University of New South Wales; Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing UNSW; Dementia Support Australia; Australian Association of Gerontology; Australian Disease Management Association; Occupational Therapy Australia; and the Residential Aged Care Communiqué.

“Aged care staff know there is a need for better mental health care for their residents. Yet there is a significant clinical gap beyond their control — the limited access and availability of mental health professionals to manage complex and major health conditions,” Ibrahim said.

About the 2024 National Mental Health webinar series

This webinar series is focused on improving mental health for older people in residential aged care services and is designed for aged care staff, nurses, facility managers, allied health staff and medical practitioners.

The series addresses five key areas for improving mental health for older people in residential aged care settings — access to mental health services; wellness and social inclusion; depression recognition and management; mental health presentations in persons with dementia; and mental health crises — suicide and other emergencies.

Each live webinar includes a clinical case presentation, a keynote speaker and an interactive panel discussion. Keynote speakers include highly regarded experts in the field: Dr Terry Chong, Prof Deirdre Fetherstonhaugh, Scientia Prof Henry Brodaty AO, Associate Prof Stephen Macfarlane and Prof Brian Draper AM.

Click here to register for Episode 2 in the series, ‘Wellness and social inclusion’, on Wednesday, 8 May at 1 pm.

Image credit: iStock.com/skynesher

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