Expanded mental health care in aged care

older lady holding walking stick
  8 June 2023  NWMPHN   

North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) is delighted to announce that it is expanding and strengthening mental health care for older people in its catchment.

Since 2020 the organisation has been commissioning clinicians to go to residential aged care homes and support residents experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues.

The program has been very successful and will now receive a boost with additional funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. This means a second organisation will join existing provider Better Place Australia, enabling a broader approach and more opportunities for residents to receive counselling sessions.

“We are pleased to announce that we have commissioned APMHA Healthcare to work alongside Better Place Australia to provide these services,” said NWMPHN Executive Director, Service Development and Reform, Jagjit Dhaliwal.

“Better Place Australia will continue to work with aged care residents in the northern suburbs, while APMHA will support aged care homes and residents in the west.”

The free service is available to all 130 aged care homes in the NWMPHN region. Over 6,000 counselling sessions have been delivered to more than 1,000 residents through the service so far, and its expansion means even more stand to benefit.

Mental health support for older Australians is a vitally important service, which helps residents live in a meaningful and dignified manner.

“People can be prone to psychological distress caused by the move into residential aged care, and it’s important to make sure they are supported during that transition,” explained Mr Dhaliwal.

“Other residents might have pre-existing mental health conditions which require ongoing or intensive treatments, while some, like the rest of us, can experience depression, anxiety, phobia or grief.”

The psychological supports in residential aged care are funded by Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, and commissioned by NWMPHN.

More information including referral details are available here.