Positive mental health is for everyone. Our goals, occupations, employment status and lifestyles may be very different but we all want the opportunity to live well, in our community, on our own terms.
In our community the mental health and other needs of older people are often addressed separately from those of younger people. There are different age-based services, alternative funding mechanisms and a set of assumptions about older people that influence their wellbeing and the support they receive when they experience mental health challenges.
This work has highlighted a number of opportunities, which require us to challenge prejudices about older people that are deeply embedded in our systems. We must support people to seek help earlier when they experience distress, which is categorically not an inevitable part of ageing. And we must accept that recovery – including the hope that things will get better – is essential later in life as it is at
Above all we need to respect older people and include them, in our communities and in decisions both about their own lives and about how we can do better in providing appropriate services.
Please see also the Commission's submission regarding this issue to the Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs.