The aged care community has welcomed an increase in state funding into mental health services.

Experts say the funding is crucial as Queensland’s population is ageing faster than any other state.

Sinead Butler reports.

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Reports of staff and bed shortages have plagued aged care services throughout Australia.

Now with the pledge of $4.3 million in State Government funding, mental health experts say there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Kevin Fjeldsoe, Director of State Mental Health Plan Implementation Team: “The main growth in the first four years of the State mental health plan has been commuting health services. So home based support for older persons, and there has also been an investment in new acute inpatient units.”

In the last twelve months, Queensland’s population has aged more quickly than any other state, prompting calls from industry experts for immediate action.

Professor Gerard Byrne, Director of the Older Persons Mental Health, RBWH: “I think it’s a critical time in the history of Australia and Queensland in particular in relation to older people’s needs, because the population is rapidly ageing, there is great demographic change.”

Research has revealed depression, anxiety, dementia and substance abuse are big issues facing older people.

Professor Byrne says we need better hospital and community services to deal with growing mental health needs.

Professor Gerard Bryne, Director of the Older Persons Mental Health, RBWH: “We need teams of mental health workers who can visit older people who might have a mental health problem, wherever they are.”

During the last twenty years, the number of people aged over 85 has more than doubled.

Sinead Butler, QUT News.