Residential care psychological services

Psychological services for older people living in participating residential care facilities in the Mornington Peninsula region and the North Western Melbourne region.

For Residents

As you get older life can become more challenging with health problems, changes in where you live and the loss of loved ones and pets. This can cause anxiety and depression, talking to someone about how you are feeling can help.

Being in an Aged Care Home right now is also tough. Some residents are feeling alone and socially isolated due to facility closures (friends and families unable to visit), reduced activity schedules and not being able to visit friends in the other wings of the home.

We understand that this might be making you and your loved ones feel nervous, sad, lonely, and/or anxious during these challenging times.

Psychological support services in Aged Care Homes have not been routinely available to you up till now. Not anymore! The support service is a FREE service and will be provided by Better Place Australia at no charge.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where a person feels under pressure, it usually passes once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed.

Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t subside — when they are ongoing and happen without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard for a person to cope with daily life.

What is Depression?

Depression is more than just a low mood — it’s a serious condition that has an impact on both physical and mental health.

While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason.

If you or your loved one have not been feeling yourselves lately or that you have been feeling down or anxious, we can help.

What do we provide?

There are many types of non-medication related therapies that have been found to be effective for people experiencing anxiety and depression including talk-based therapy and reminiscent therapy.

Our therapies may not only support a person to recover but can also help to prevent the anxiety or depression from reoccurring.

The services will be delivered on an individual basis and/or through group sessions. The services will be offered via phone, via tele-health and if safe, through face-to-face consultations.

We will work with you to find the most effective service catered to your individual needs.

All services are provided at your Residential Care Home by face-to-face visits, phone, or video calling.

If you would like to talk to someone about accessing the service at your Residential Care Home, please speak to your RN, GP or Rhonda Withers on 03 9556 5333 or via email

For Residential Care Home staff and General Practitioners

The prevalence of mental illness is higher amongst residents of Aged Care Homes than it is for the general population, however Mental Health Services are not routinely available.

Where mental illness is diagnosed in residential aged care residents, the most likely intervention is the prescription of medication despite their known side effects and the risk of drug-disease interactions which are more common in the elderly.

However, research evidence suggests that there are a range of non-pharmacological psychosocial interventions that are effective alternatives to the prescription of medication for the treatment of mental illness in frail aged people living in residential care facilities.

Up until recently, Psychological support services for residents in Aged Care Homes have not been routinely available.

We are very pleased to announce that this is no longer the situation!

The Commonwealth Government has provided funding through Primary Health Networks to provide Psychological services for residents in Aged Care Homes.

Better Place Australia is providing these services in the North and West Regions of Melbourne and on the Mornington Peninsula, and the Geelong-Otway Region at no charge.

We work closely and collaboratively with Aged Care Homes to support residents with low to mild diagnosed mental health conditions and/or those who are at risk of mental illness. This includes residents with dementia, anxiety, depression, social isolation, and new residents transitioning into Residential Aged Care Facilities.

The services will be delivered on an individual basis and/or through group sessions. The services will be offered via phone, via tele-health and through face-to-face, where appropriate to do so.

As a part of the program, Better Place Australia also offer a free education program for all staff that focuses on Mental Health in the elderly.

This new service does not duplicate the role of programs and services that support residents with severe and complex mental health needs and/or programs that supports residents with behavioural symptoms of dementia (BPSD).

How to Refer

If you would like to discuss the program in more detail or to refer a client, please contact the practitioner for your region.


Rhonda Withers on 03 9556 5333 or email for:

  • Geelong Otway region of the Western Victoria Primary Health Network
  • North and Western regions of the North Western Victoria Primary Health Network


Mandy Strange on 03 9556 5333 or email for:

  • Mornington region of the South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network.


Learn more about the referral process by downloading our referral guide.

Find out more about this service

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Get Support

Please make an enquiry if you would like to book an appointment for one of our services. Alternatively, you can live chat with us during business hours.

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