Liam Butler interviews researcher Chris AllisonÂ about promoting mental health for Older People
Â Chris how can your research into Global Ageing and the Challenges and Opportunities for Nelson-Tasman and Aotearoa New Zealand be used to promote mentalÂ health for older people?
Chris Allison:Â As people age, for instance, their demands onÂ health systems have tended to increase. At the same time, increasing costs of treatment goods and services, such as labour costs and medical technology and treatment, will be compounded by the impact of what has been described as an â€˜epidemicâ€™ of obesity and associated chronicÂ health conditions.
What this means is that the current NZÂ healthÂ system, while being able to adapt up to this point, is unlikely to cope with the level of demand in the near-future. Estimates by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research suggest that within eight years NZ will need to shift its approach to healthcare spending if this is not to undermine Governmentâ€™s ability to maintain its budget.
In the face of these social andÂ healthÂ system challenges,Â Promoting MentalÂ HealthÂ for Older People: Global Ageing and the Challenges and Opportunities for Nelson-Tasman and Aotearoa New ZealandÂ looks at the critical role ofÂ creating and maintaining wellbeing and resilience rather than relying onÂ our traditionalÂ health focus of treating illness. The document isÂ concerned primarily withÂ mentalÂ healthÂ for older people, but it emphasises the need to beÂ activelyÂ responsibleÂ for our mental and our physicalÂ healthÂ as a life-long habit, utilisingÂ approachesÂ such as the â€˜Five Ways to Wellbeingâ€™ model.Â http://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/home/ways-to-wellbeing/
About Â Chris Allison:Â Chris is part of the Mental Health Promotion team at Health Action Trust Nelson. His background is in clinical psychology, with work in general community-based mental health, burnout prevention, and in hospice and oncology settings. He is currently working as a behavioural researcher and health promoter with a particular interest in building mental and physical resilience for older age, and in the role of cycling and urban design in fostering health and social connection.
AboutÂ HealthÂ ActionÂ Trust
HealthÂ ActionÂ TrustÂ is a community-basedÂ healthpromotion organisation that emerged from a 1982 CommunityÂ ActionÂ project in Nelson, New Zealand.Â
Mission:Â To work with communities to improveÂ healthÂ and remove barriers that limit wellbeing.
Philosophies:Â People’sÂ healthÂ and well-being is affected by all aspects of their everyday life. From our perspective, good healthÂ and well-being is created by caring for oneself and others, and by being able to have control over one’s life.