A new mental health initiative has expanded support options for aged care residents in the region, showing promising outcomes.

Lives Lived Well, a not-for-profit healthcare organisation, recently launched the Residential Aged Care Home (RACH) Group Program. Made possible through funding from the Darling Downs and West Moreton Primary Health Network (PHN), this free program offers vital support to those living in residential aged care homes across the Darling Downs and West Moreton regions who either have a diagnosed mental health condition or are at-risk of developing mental ill-health.

Lives Lived Well CEO Mitchell Giles emphasised the importance of mental health across all stages of life.

“Positive mental health is not just crucial; it’s fundamental to overall wellbeing, regardless of age or living situation,” he said.

“While the prevalence of mental illness tends to decrease with age, it remains more common among specific groups of older Australians, such as those living in permanent residential aged care.

“We are grateful to Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN for supporting this much-needed program, enabling us to ensure residents in local facilities have the support they need to live their lives well.”

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing, a significant proportion (87%) of people living in permanent residential aged care experience mental health or behavioural conditions, with 49% diagnosed with depression.

Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN CEO Lucille Chalmers explained the program’s alignment with local need.

“In addition to our health data, we have engaged with older people who have told us they want more access to mental health services and social connection programs to help maintain their wellbeing,” said Ms Chalmers.

“This program will work cohesively with GPs, specialist mental health services and RACHs to ensure suitable mental health care is made available to residents.

“We are proud to work with Lives Lived Well as they deliver this important program.”

The RACH Group Program consists of six sessions to support residents in creating connections, understanding mental health, identifying unhelpful thinking patterns, developing coping skills that enhance wellbeing, building confidence and setting goals for the future.

Karla Smith, Team Leader for Clinical Services at Lives Lived Well, leads the program and shared encouraging insights into its early success.

“We’ve been actively engaging with over 20 aged care homes in the region to introduce the program, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” she said.

Access to this program is easy, as there is no requirement for a specialist or GP referral. Residential aged care homes and individuals interested in learning more about the RACH Group Program are encouraged to contact Lives Lived Well. For more information visit www.liveslivedwell.org.au/our-services/mental-health/residential-aged-care-home/.

*Source: Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing (AIHW), 2023, Older Australians – selected health conditions, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australians/contents/health/health-disability-status#Mental%20health

For all media inquiries, please contact:

Lisa Maynard, Marketing and Communications Manager, Lives Lived Well

E.[email protected] M. 0428 433 572

About Lives Lived Well

Lives Lived Well is a not-for-profit healthcare provider that offers evidence-based services across Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia. The organisation specialises in supporting people with concerns related to alcohol and other drugs (AOD), mental health, transitioning from corrective services, veterans’ wellbeing and gambling. Learn more at www.liveslivedwell.org.au.

About Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN
Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN is one of 31 primary health networks around Australia. Our role in the health system is to both support primary health – the healthcare people seek first in their community, such as GPs, pharmacies and allied health professionals – as well as work with our partners to ensure the right care is there for those who need it most. Learn more at www.ddwmphn.com.au.


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