$5 million for research to improve mental health in the elderly

The Federal Government and beyondblue will provide a total of $5 million for research to help improve mental illness among our older Australia.


The funding will be allocated to seven innovative projects that will look to reduce depression, anxiety and suicide in elderly Australians by supporting evidence-based approaches.


One project includes a trial to reduce the prevalence of depression in Australian nursing homes and another projects look at improving health and social participation outcomes in older adults with depression and anxiety.


Minister for Health Greg Hunt said older people are particularly vulnerable to developing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety and that’s exacerbated by declining physical health, chronic pain, loneliness, grief and loss of independence.


“Ten to 15 per cent of older adults in Australia experience depression, but for people living in residential aged the rate is much higher—around 30 per cent,” Minister Hunt said.


“The highest suicide rate among men remains in the 85-and-over age bracket. These research projects will save lives.”


beyondblue and the Government, through the National Health and Medical Research Council, will each provide about $2.5 million to fund the projects.


The projects funded are:

Chief Investigator (A)


Administering Institution


Associate Professor Viviana Wuthrich

Translating evidence-based psychological interventions for older adults with depression and anxiety into public and private mental health settings using a stepped care framework

Macquarie University


Professor Ronald Rapee

Improving health and social participation outcomes in older adults with depression and anxiety

Macquarie University


Professor Osvaldo Almeida

BAN-Dep: A trial to decrease the prevalence of depression in Australian nursing homes

University of Western Australia


Professor Robert Sanson-Fisher

A randomised controlled trial of an online peer support intervention for reducing symptoms of depression among community-dwelling older adults living in rural Australia

The University of Newcastle


Professor Andrew Page

Evidence for suicide prevention in planning transitions from employment to retirement in older age populations

University of Western Sydney


Associate Professor Sunil Bhar

Elders AT Ease Program (ELATE): A cluster randomised controlled trial of a sustainable and scalable mental health service for Australian residential aged care facilities

Swinburne University of Technology


Professor Colleen Doyle

The impact of befriending on depression, anxiety, social support and loneliness in older adults living in residential aged care facilities



2 August 2018.