Mental health

New mental health advisory group under fire

The Federal Government’s new mental health advisory group has been criticised for not considering the needs of older Australians, particularly those living in aged care.

Director of the Institute for Health and Ageing at Australian Catholic University, Professor Marita McCabe, described the formation of the new group as a positive step.

But she also said the government needed to provide services for all Australians, including those living in residential aged care.

Tiredness is partly genetic, researchers say

If you often feel tired, your genes may partly be to blame, researchers at Scotland’s Edinburgh University say.

Saski Hagenaars at the University’s Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology and Dr Vincent Deary of Northumbria University surveyed nearly 112,000 people, asking them whether or not they frequently felt tired or had low energy levels.

Thinking about hot weather can give you heat stress

With summer officially underway and the weather heating up, researchers in the Northern Territory have found that just thinking about the heat can be stressful.

Charles Darwin University (CDU) researchers surveyed 2000 people nation-wide on their self-reported levels of heat stress and found that almost half perceived themselves as sometimes or often very stressed by heat over the period of one year.

The actual temperature variation in May and October, when the survey was undertaken, did not influence the responses.

Social connections good for men

Male bonding is good for men’s mental health but a lack of social connections can undermine it, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) says.

Dr Paul Jelfs, ABS General Manager of Population and Social Statistics, said that 75 per cent of Australian men had weekly face-to-face contact with family or friends living outside their household in 2014, while nine in 10 also had weekly contact through other means such as phone calls, text messaging and email.

Golf is good for you

Golf is good for mental health, new research shows.

The sport’s benefits go far beyond the physical, with players commonly reporting below average rates of anxiety, stress and depression.

Roy Morgan Research said its research shows that just over 1.7 million Australian adults – or 9.3 per cent - play golf either regularly or occasionally, putting the sport among the country’s 10 most popular forms of exercise.

Compared with the average Australian aged 18 or over, golfers were less likely to experience depression, stress, anxiety or even panic attacks.

Staying social helps ward off depression

An active social life can help ward off depression in women when they stop driving, a new study has found.

University of Queensland School of Psychology Professor Nancy Pachana said that older women were more likely to stop driving prematurely and also were more vulnerable to depression than older men.

“There’s a sense of losing control and independence when you stop driving so it’s important to have social support and take action to put alternatives in place before you or a loved one has to stop,” Dr Pachana said.

New course aims to improve mental health of older people

National depression awareness initiative beyondblue has launched a free online course to help aged care workers recognise and manage depression and anxiety in the older people they work with, while safeguarding their own mental health.

The course, Professional Education to Aged Care (PEAC), has been designed to suit aged care professionals in a range of roles, in both residential and community care.

Beyondblue chief executive George Harman said research shows around one in 10 older Australians suffers from depression and a similar number experiences anxiety.

Overhaul of mental health services

The Federal Government has launched a new blueprint for mental health services which will see a move toward individualised care packages.

As part of the reforms, Australians with a severe and complex mental illness will have access to an integrated care package tailored to their individual needs.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley said the package would reshape the delivery of primary mental health services toward a more modern, flexible model of care, rather than the current “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Seniors urged to reach out for mental health support

Seniors are being urged to reach out for support to protect themselves from depression, loneliness and anxiety as part of Mental Health Week from October 2 to 10.

Beyondblue says between 10 and 15 per cent of older Australians suffer depression, and around 10 per cent experience anxiety, with higher rates in nursing homes.

National Seniors Australia chief executive Michael O’Neill said Mental Health Week was a reminder that people of all ages need to check in on their mental health.

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