More support for older people living with mental illness

The Government says it will invest $15 million in new partnerships with aged care facilities over the next 10 years. Credit: Star Observer

Older people receiving long-term care in hospital for mental illness will have better access to specialised treatment in a community setting.

Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies today announced the NSW Government will invest $15 million over 10 years in new partnerships with aged care facilities to help older people with enduring mental illness live outside of hospital.

“Older people with mental illness need specialised care and these partnerships mean aged care providers can expand their services and offer holistic care options for residents,” Mrs Davies said.

“It’s not preferable for patients, or their family and friends, to be in hospital for long stays and we want to do what we can to have older people settled in the community with the right support.”

In partnership with RSL Lifecare, Catholic Healthcare and Southern Cross Care four new services have been established in the Hunter New England, Nepean Blue Mountains, Northern Sydney and Western Sydney Local Health Districts.

These services include 10-bed mental health transition units, within residential aged care facilities, to provide intensive, tailored and high quality support for older people with complex mental illness.

“The program is already helping vulnerable people, who are experiencing the impacts of persistent mental illness, severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, drug and alcohol issues or homelessness, to have a significantly improved quality of life,” Mrs Davies said.

Additional funding has been provided to clinical mental health services to support the delivery of the program. The program known as My Choice: Pathways to Community Living Initiative is part of the NSW Government’s response to the Mental Health Commission of NSW’s strategic plan for mental health ‘Living Well’.

If you or someone you know needs crisis support please call Lifeline 13 11 14, MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78, or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

For mental health services in your local area phone the NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511.