Make a mental health pledge

This Thursday is World Mental Health Day and aged care workers are being asked to make and share a mental health promise this week to prioritise their own wellbeing and those they care for.

Aged care workers are being called upon to make and share a mental health promise this week to prioritise their own wellbeing and help them be a better carer.

This call to action coincides with Thursday’s World Mental Health Day, which is the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health and this year focuses on the mental health of older people.

To mark the day, the Mental Health Council of Australia is asking people who work in aged care to get involved by making a meaningful and achievable mental health promise and post it online on the event’s website.

“If people look after and prioritise their own wellbeing and their own mental health then it allows them to be a better carer and more able to do a good job, particularly in sectors like aged care,” a spokesman for the Mental Health Council of Australia said.

“[The promise] could be something simple like spend more time with my family and friends or it could be more complex like my promise is to see my doctor and talk about my needs.”

This year, the council’s campaign is focusing on de-stigmatising mental illness; bringing people together and talking as communities; and driving people to seek help if they need it.

The spokesman said the council was excited the focus has been put on the mental health of older people this year.

“Quite often people can experience mental illness and their onset can happen much later in life,” he said.

“It’s really important for people who work in the aged care sector to consider the mental health and wellbeing of the people they look after and don’t simply dismiss it as the symptoms of getting older,” he said.

The council wants to ensure looking after mental wellbeing is as important as taking care of physical wellbeing, he said.

“If people can make a promise to themselves, keep it and share it with others, then they will help our community to understand that mental health is just as important as physical health,”the spokesman said.

Go to 1010.org.au to post your mental health promise and to find out about what events are taking place on Thursday.

Download the federation’s paper (pdf): Mental Health and Older People

New training for community care staff

In a new initiative, beyondblue has developed a training program for community aged care staff to help improve their understanding of depression and anxiety in older people, and to ensure their clients get support.

The evidence-based training program is modelled on beyondblue’s successful Professional Education to Aged Care (PEAC) program which was released last year for aged care staff working in residential facilities.

beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell said case managers and community care staff who visit older people in their homes can have a big impact on the mental health of those in their care.

“For a lot of people who don’t live with their family, this may be the most significant social relationship they have,” she said.

“Services often focus on the physical needs of their clients, but the mental health needs are just as important.”

The training will be delivered to staff in a three-hour workshop by training organisations licensed by beyondblue to deliver the PEAC program across Australia.

The training will focus on understanding depression and anxiety, how these conditions present in older people, risk and protective factors, ways to support older people’s mental health, screening tools and information about how to access treatment.

Ms Carnell said that with up to a third of older people who are supported in their homes experiencing depression, and with anxiety disorders likely to be even more common, it is vital that the staff are taught to recognise the signs and symptoms of these conditions.

“Older people are at greater risk of developing mental health problems because of the cumulative effect of numerous risk factors, including chronic illness and isolation. But if aged care staff can recognise the symptoms of depression and anxiety, they can take action to get professional help and treatment for those affected, which will improve how they feel and may just rekindle older people’s interest in activities they used to enjoy,” she said.

Tags: beyond-blue, mental-health, mental-health-council-of-australia, world-mental-health-day,

2 thoughts on “Make a mental health pledge

  1. Thanks for the information from World Mental Health Day. We have made our pledge!

  2. Thanks for the information from World Mental Health Day. We have made our pledge!

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