Older persons mental health services

The focus of Older Persons Mental Health Service (OPMHS) in South Australia is to support older people to maximise their mental health. This is achieved through working with the community, ageing and primary health care sectors to prevent or reduce the incidence and/or escalation of mental health issues. By positioning community mental health teams at the centre of care in the community and strengthening the resources of these teams, there is a greater potential to intervene earlier and prevent a high incidence of mental health issues among the older population. There will always be a role for inpatient acute and non-acute OPMHS bedded services, but as a highly specialised resource in a ‘stepped system’ of care where people can step up and down to the most appropriate level of care.

Services are for people aged 65 years and older and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older, who have a diagnosable mental health disorder or symptoms of an underlying issue or issues, including: first onset of a psychiatric illness or disorder whilst in these age brackets; dementia complicating a pre-existing psychiatric illness; dementia with severe behavioural and psychological symptoms, requiring specialist mental health input. Also included are younger consumers who have an established definite diagnosis of a progressive early-onset neurodegenerative disorder, presenting with cognitive impairment and behavioural disturbance.

Mental health services for older persons in South Australia include:

Community teams

The nature of the intervention is similar to those offered by general community mental health services. Multidisciplinary OPMHS community teams operate during business hours from Monday to Friday and provide:

  • Initial mental health assessment, treatment, care planning.
  • Short term intervention to address current issues; assist with community linkages and with the resumption of lifestyle following an episode of illness.
  • For some people longer term support may be required when there is an enduring mental illness, supporting them to maintain optimal mental health and community tenure.
  • Teams aim to foster community integration and to address the on-going psychosocial needs of consumers by working collaboratively with the consumers and other agencies.
  • Community development and early intervention service.
  • Specific clinic services for consumers are provided on a sessional basis. The services offered are outpatient psychiatrist and psychologist review or groups, medication, management and monitoring of Guardianship Board community treatment orders and GP liaison to support GP’s in providing services to individuals with mental illness.
  • In reach services to Residential Aged Care facilities to maximise tenure and quality of life.

Eastern team
367a Magill Rd, St Morris
Telephone: (08) 7425-6400

Northern team
Torrens Valley International Residence (Basement Level)
41-69 Smart Road, Modbury.
Telephone: (08) 7425 6300 (Option 1)

Southern team
Springbank House
Block C, Repat Health Precinct, 216 Daws Road, Daw Park
Telephone: (08) 7117 5037

Western team
308 Grange Road, Kidman Park
Telephone: (08) 8426 0600

Crisis Intervention Service

This 7 day service by a multidisciplinary team offers mental health assessments in peoples’ homes. Rapid response services are tasked by the Mental Health Triage Service. This service is available to callers who are older/or on behalf of older persons and is a collaborative assessment between the adult rapid response service and the OPMHS community teams, whenever possible. During business hours registered consumers of the OPMHS will be responded to in an emergency by the OPMHS team.

Acute inpatient units

Acute units provide mental health inpatient assessment and treatment.Admission to acute inpatient units requires an initial referral through the OPMHS community team during business hours.After hours referrals are via the OPMHS receiving ward to the OPMHS consultant.Admission is determined by the nature and symptomatologies associated with mental illness, and after less restrictive options have been explored. There is an Open unit and a High Dependency Unit (offering treatment in a secure environment).

Acute inpatient units for OPMHS

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital - South East Building (Ward SE)
Contact: Clinical Services Coordinator
28 Woodville Road, Woodville
Telephone: (08) 8133 4271

Older Persons’ Mental Health Unit, Flinders Medical Centre
Contact: Older Persons’ Mental Health Unit, Clinical Services Coordinator
Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders Drive, Bedford Park
Telephone: (08) 8404 2862

Lyell McEwin Hospital
Contact: Ward 1H, Clinical Services Coordinator
Lyell McEwin Hospital
Oldham Road, Elizabeth Vale
Telephone: (08) 8133 2162

Country Older Persons Mental Health Services

Mental health services are jointly delivered to older people living in country regions by the local mental health team and a consultation liaison service.

Services are available through the local mental health team during business hours. 

Out-of-hours services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Emergency Triage Liaison Service (ETLS) on telephone 13 14 65.

Country Liaison Service

Telephone: (08) 8303 1110 (Monday to Friday during business hours)

Find your local Country Health mental health team.

Consultation Liaison Service

The consultation liaison service offers a visiting and remote service with direct assessments of consumers as well as education, advice and support for service providers. The consultation liaison service offers a distance consultation and video conferencing service.

Collaboration for better mental health care for older people in rural regions

Country Health SA Local Health Network Mental Health Services have partnered with Flinders University, Southern Adelaide-Fleurieu-Kangaroo Island Medicare Local and the Southern Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island Positive Ageing Taskforce on a project aimed at improving collaboration in providing mental health care to older people in the Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island region.