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Mental Health In Elderly People In Dandenong

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Discuss about the Mental health in elderly people in Dandenong.



The paper presents the clear view of the mental health and social isolation in elderly people in Dandenong. Greater Dandenong is the culturally diverse municipality in Victoria.  The paper provides the comprehensive and detailed description of the health issue, the demographics of the population and those affected by the chosen health issue. The paper reviews and describes the two real needs assessment reports. It also includes the organization that carried out the assessment, specific target population, and detailed description of the findings. Further, the paper highlights the various needs assessments tools to be used, different groups to be sampled and sample size. With each of tool the questions to be asked will also be detailed in the paper. Out of all the needs assessment tools one will be drafted for survey or interview. For the draft survey and interview, the design of the tool,   the type of data collected will be explained. Both the original and the revised tools will be attached. The paper further gives a brief inventory on the key services and other relevant infrastructure pertaining to geographic target population and health issue in the tabular form. The facts and information related to the subject will be supported with credible resources.   

Overview of the health issue in the target population-

Greater Dandenong is the culturally diverse municipality in Victoria. The estimated population of the 164, 000 in 2015. According to the Victorian Population Health Survey, 15.5% of the older residents in Greater Dandenong experience high level of psychological distress when compared to 11% of the Victorian residents ( 2017). Similar survey conducted on the young and the elderly showed that the greater proportions of old people lack trusted emotional support in their life. Therefore, they had unfavourable psychological development. The adolescents mental well being reports (2009) showed that 30.6% of the adolescents are not satisfied with their quality of life and 55.3% of them are without positive psychological development. This is manifested as mental health disorder in older adults  ( 2017).

Among the preparatory pupils 37% of them were found developmentally vulnerable. In social aspects, 17.5% of children were developmentally vulnerable, 12.2% in emotional aspects, 11.2% in the language and cognitive aspects. Therefore, these people do not have healthy ageing. Thus, mental health issue in elderly is highly prevalent. The broad categories of the mental disorders documented by the local survey in Great Dandenong includes anxiety disorders (11% of the males and 18% females), substance abuse conditions (7% males, 3% females) (Kearns et al. 2015).

Other mental health disorders profoundly observed are-

Alcohol dependence, bipolar effective disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, generalised anxiety disorders, psychosis, and obsessive compulsive disorder (Renzaho and Oldroyd 2014).

Mental health disorder has been found to be highly prevalent among older women, people without high education attainment, unemployed individuals, homosexuals, divorced couples, people with poor physical health, or those heads of one parent families (Kearns et al. 2016). According to the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey in greater Dandenong showed that out of 24000 Australians aged 14 and more 42% were involved in illicit drug abuse in their lifetime and 15% in the previous year. The rate of suicide is high in this city and is most prevalent among the 20-24 years old males ( 2017).  


The number of the Indigenous population counted by the Census in this sector was 3,825 in 2011. The number has increased by 5000 in the last five years. The general health of the people is comparatively worse than the non-Indigenous Australians. This paper focuses on the mental health of the Indigenous population in Great Dandenong and associated social isolation. Mental health disorders are highly prevalent among the elderly in  Indigenous Australians. The mortality rate due to the mental disorders among the Indigenous Australians is 2.5 times higher than the non-Indigenous Australians ( 2017). The 2011 Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage, rated Greater Dandenong as the most disadvantaged municipality in Victoria. The survey measured unemployment, educational levels, incomes, home ownership, English fluency, and other considerations ( 2017).

The key contributing factors for the prevailing mental health issue in elderly includes relatively low incomes, poor employment level, and low educational attainment. These factors add to unfavourable health condition and accompany target population’s social disadvantage. The social isolation among the young adult population in the Indigenous community is attributed to leave school earlier, less favourable early school development, high rate of absenteeism, less often attend university and increasing rate of disengagement from the employment and education. These factors decrease the possibility of employment in later life and social disengagement ( 2017).

Review of the real needs assessment reports

Need assessment plan

Need assessment tools


Sample group

Type of information collected

Survey (quantitative tool)

(Schilling 2014)

·         Printed questionnaire

·         Online survey

·         Create a draft full survey and then try on test group, revise if necessary

·         Administer the survey and tabulate results

Target broad area that is community


Large sample size (more than 3000 people) and more representative group of people

Honest and objective description of needs


 It develops quantitative data that requires statistical analysis  

Interviews (qualitative tool)

(Schilling 2014)

·         Need to build strong rapport with the participants

·         Must have list of themes to structure the conversation

·         Develop an interview script

·         Calm and comfortable environment Video and audio-recording with consent 

Relatively small number of people and cannot encompass an entire community but a small section of it. Usually segment of population is needed.

Provide insights into individual perspectives. It develops non-numerical data. 

Focus groups

(Stewar and Shamdasani 2014)

Open ended questions- right from general to specific

Trained assistant moderator- minimal interaction with group  

Not more than eight individuals

Homogeneous group- similar years, age, gender

Information on individual preferences through group dialogue and face-to-face interaction with participants

Observational studies

(Von Elm et al. 2014)

·         Primary questions will be the focus of observation

·         Note taking material while observing the activities

·         Photo-taking for richer information

·         Develop an observation schedule to capture data at different times of the day.

·         Need to have coding scheme to document behaviours  

A small research team

Actual Information can be textual descriptions to or drawings of a space or coded marking of template.

Brief inventory- Primary care mental health needs assessment

Tool Type of information Target population Original Revised
Interview (Structured questionnaire- both close ended and open-ended) Mental health problems in primary care and care provider’s perspectives

Stakeholder in XZ mental health organisation in  Dandenong.

Sample population- stakeholder interviews

1.What is your work?



2. How do you refer elderly patients?


3.Where and how do you refer patients?




4. Which group of elderly patient do you target?

5. Do you provide counselling service?




6. What is the part of the area you cover?



7. What are the patient pathways you cover?




8. What are your facilities?




1.What is the role of organisation? 


2. How are older  patients referred?

3. D o you refer patients?



where and how?


4.Who are the target group of elderly patient?

5. What does counselling or intervention consist of? Who is qualified to do this?

6. Is mental health the part of the area of work you cover?


7. Are you aware of any patient pathways?



8.What facilities do you provide? Does users want to use them?

Key services in Dandenong

The “Greater Dandenong Community Health Service” promotes the health and the wellbeing of the vulnerable and the diverse individuals in the community. The services collaborate with organisations, communities and individuals. The people in need and with poor health status access services.  Confidentiality of the health care is mentioned. Services offered mainly includes counselling, health information sources, psychology services, community health nursing, mental health education, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, life skills program i.e parenting and health ageing. These services also provide medical interpreter and case mangers.  Overall, the city of Dandenong is not the direct mental health service provider. The council   provides the services to promote mental health. There are four Community Mental Health Centres and an Early Psychosis service. Among the specialist interventions cognitive behavioural therapy and family group work are prominent (Lee et al. 2015).



Alarcon Manchego, P., Knott, J., Graudins, A., Bartley, B. and Mitra, B., 2015. Management of mental health patients in Victorian emergency departments: A 10 year follow?up study. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 27(6), pp.529-536., 2017. Dandenong and District Aboriginal Cooperative Ltd.. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Aug. 2017]., 2017. Health and Wellbeing in Greater Dandenong. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Aug. 2017]., 2017. Statistics and Data - City of Greater Dandenong. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Aug. 2017].

Kearns, N.P., Shawyer, F., Brooker, J.E., Graham, A.L., Enticott, J.C., Martin, P.R. and Meadows, G.N., 2016. Does rumination mediate the relationship between mindfulness and depressive relapse?. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 89(1), pp.33-49.

Lee, J., Daffern, M., Ogloff, J.R. and Martin, T., 2015. Towards a model for understanding the development of post?traumatic stress and general distress in mental health nurses. International journal of mental health nursing, 24(1), pp.49-58.

Renzaho, A.M. and Oldroyd, J.C., 2014. Closing the gap in maternal and child health: a qualitative study examining health needs of migrant mothers in Dandenong, Victoria, Australia. Maternal and child health journal, 18(6), pp.1391-1402.

Schilling, N., 2014. Surveys and interviews. Research methods in linguistics, p.96.

Stewart, D.W. and Shamdasani, P.N., 2014. Focus groups: Theory and practice (Vol. 20). Sage publications.

Von Elm, E., Altman, D.G., Egger, M., Pocock, S.J., Gøtzsche, P.C., Vandenbroucke, J.P. and Strobe Initiative, 2014. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies. International Journal of Surgery, 12(12), pp.1495-1499.


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