Better Ageing – mental health support for older Australians

Page last updated: 08 May 2018

Better Ageing – mental health support for older Australians (PDF 124 KB)

The Government will increase funding for aged care by $5 billion over five years. The Government will invest $102.5 million in two measures to support the mental health needs of older Australians:

  • A $20 million trial to improve mental health services for Australians over 75 years of age whose mental and physical health are at risk because of social isolation and loneliness. The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses will lead the development of a mental health nurse led service focused on reducing the detrimental health and mental health impacts of social isolation.
  • $82.5 million in new mental health services for people with a diagnosed mental disorder living in residential aged care facilities.

Why is this important?

It is important that older Australians have access to mental health services, both in residential care and in the community.

Mental illness in later life is associated with increased rates of chronic or serious health conditions, reduced capacity for independent living and increased suicide risk.

Loneliness and social isolation are also strongly associated with a range of physical and mental health conditions, including depression, reduced capacity for independent living, and increased suicide rates.

Who will benefit?

In June 2017, around 1.6 million Australians were aged over 75 years. While estimates vary, one report states that up to a third of older people experience loneliness, with seven to nine per cent experiencing severe loneliness.

Men over 85 years of age are at particular risk, with the highest suicide rates for all ages, at 39.3 deaths per 100,000.

How much will this cost?

These measures will cost $102.5 million from 2018–19 to 2021–22.

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