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We should be optimistic: addressing mental health in aged care

This issue of psychotropics has been front and centre during the Royal Commission, but not much time has been devoted to the reason behind its use, mental illness.

Approximately half of all aged care residents exhibit symptoms consistent with depression, and typically those who currently reside in aged care facilities have low mental health literacy, so identifying issues can be problematic.

Unfortunately, this issue is often neglected as it is assumed that depression comes with old age.

Sunil Bhar disagrees. As professor of psychology at Swinburne University, Bhar believes that more should be done to tackle mental health issues, and a good starting point would be mandated access to psychological help.

Bhar does see room for optimism, however, with last year’s federal budget allocating significant funds to mental health in aged care.

Bhar joined Nursing Review to talk about this problem and his work in the mental health space.

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