The ACT Government has today released a new strategy to improve the mental health and wellbeing of older Canberrans by building a more inclusive city that helps people live well and stay connected as they age.
Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson said the Re-envisioning Older Persons Mental Health and Wellbeing in the ACT Strategy 2022-2026 will guide priorities and initiatives for older Canberrans over the next five years that see Canberra become more inclusive and supportive of positive ageing.
“Better access to quality mental health support for our ageing population means they can live healthier lives as active members of our community. It means more time and for stronger relationships and to share their knowledge and experiences,” Minister Davidson said.
“Canberra has one of the highest standards of health and wellbeing for older people across the country, yet many still experience poor mental health due to changes in lifestyle following retirement, increased susceptibility to chronic conditions, and the social and emotional challenges that are, at times, associated with ageing.
“We know an environment that allows older people to live active, productive, and mentally healthy lives is critical to support healthy ageing. This strategy will strengthen collaboration across sectors to improve responses and support services that promote mental health of older persons so they can live well as they age.”
The strategy proposes 25 actions across three priority areas to respond to the needs of older Canberrans requiring mental health care:
- Build mentally healthy communities for all older Canberrans
- Enhance the lives and experiences of older Canberrans with mental illness
- Improve structural and system capacity
“In the first two years of the strategy, we will undertake a number of research and scoping projects to address key concerns for our ageing community including suicide prevention, homelessness and access to culturally sensitive services,” Minister Davidson said.
“These actions will be undertaken with close collaboration and coordination between the ACT Government, service providers and community organisations so our older people are supported in accessing the right kinds of mental health and community supports when they need them.”
Implementation of the strategy will be reviewed after the first two years to assess progress and determine priorities for the final three years. The strategy complements the Age Friendly City Plan 2020-2024.