The Community Care of Older People with Mental Health Issues

Older people with mental health issues face many challenges in accessing appropriate and effective care in the community. They may have complex needs that require multidisciplinary and integrated support from various services and sectors. They may also experience stigma, discrimination, isolation, abuse, or neglect that can worsen their mental health conditions. Therefore, it is essential to provide community-based mental health care that is person-centred, recovery-oriented, culturally sensitive, and evidence-based.

Community-based mental health care refers to the provision of support, care, and treatment for people with mental health issues in their own homes or in other community settings, such as primary care clinics, day centres, or residential facilities. Community-based mental health care aims to promote the autonomy, dignity, and well-being of people with mental health issues, as well as to prevent unnecessary hospitalization or institutionalization. Community-based mental health care can also involve the collaboration and coordination of various services and sectors, such as health, social care, education, housing, justice, and voluntary organizations.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 14% of adults aged 60 and over live with a mental disorder (WHO, 2023). The most common mental health conditions for older adults are depression and anxiety. These conditions can have a significant impact on the quality of life, physical health, cognitive function, and social participation of older adults. Moreover, older adults are more likely to experience adverse events such as bereavement, retirement, chronic illness, disability, or abuse that can trigger or exacerbate mental health problems. Older adults are also more likely to have comorbid physical or mental conditions that can complicate their diagnosis and treatment.

Therefore, community-based mental health care for older adults should be tailored to their specific needs and preferences. It should also address the social determinants of mental health, such as poverty, loneliness, discrimination, or violence. Furthermore, community-based mental health care for older adults should involve their families, carers, and communities in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of care. It should also empower older adults to participate in decision-making and self-management of their mental health.

There are various models and examples of community-based mental health care for older adults around the world. For instance, in England, the Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults (NCCMH, 2021) presents a new structure for providing integrated community-based mental health care that is aligned with the NHS Long Term Plan. The framework defines the core functions and components of community mental health services, such as assessment and care planning, psychological interventions, medication management, physical health care, social inclusion and recovery support, crisis response and home treatment, and specialist services for complex needs write my nursing thesis. The framework also provides guidance on how to implement the framework in different communities and contexts.

In Australia, the Community Older Peoples’ Mental Health Services (COPMHS) in New South Wales provide specialized assessment and treatment for older people with severe or complex mental health issues who live in the community or in residential aged care facilities (NSW Health, 2023). The COPMHS consist of multidisciplinary teams that include psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists,
social workers,
occupational therapists,
and peer workers.
The COPMHS work closely with other services and sectors,
such as general practitioners,
aged care providers,
and non-government organizations.
The COPMHS also offer education and support to families,
carers,
and staff who work with older people with mental health issues.

In Western Australia,
the Mental Health Commission (MHC)
provides funding and oversight for various community-based mental health services for older adults,
such as counselling,
peer support,
respite care,
and advocacy (MHC,
2023).
The MHC also supports the write my masters thesis development and implementation of policies,
strategies,
and standards for improving the mental health of older adults in the state.
The MHC collaborates with other agencies and stakeholders,
such as consumers,
carers,
service providers,
and researchers,
to ensure that the needs and rights of older adults with mental health issues are met.

These are some examples of how community-based mental health care can be delivered for older people with mental health issues.
However,
there is no one-size-fits-all approach to community-based mental health care.
Each community has its own strengths,
challenges,
and opportunities for providing effective and responsive care for older adults.
Therefore,
it is important to engage with older adults themselves,
as well as their families,
carers,
and communities,
to co-design and co-deliver community-based mental health care that meets their needs and aspirations.

References

MHC (2023). Older adults. Retrieved from https://www.mhc.wa.gov.au/your-health-and-wellbeing/older-adults/

NCCMH (2021). The Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults. Retrieved from https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/improving-care/nccmh/service-design-and-development/community-framework

NSW Health (2023). Community Older Peoples’ Mental Health Services: A guide for older people, their families and carers. Retrieved from https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/mentalhealth/resources/Pages/copmh-services.aspx

WHO (2023). Mental health of older adults. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-of-older-adults

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