Later-life depression and anxiety is one of the major mental health problems of this century. With the Australian population now including a larger proportion of older women than ever before, it’s essential that research and programs are put in place to help women through this potentially challenging time.

Traditionally ageing has been regarded as a process of inevitable decline of health, capabilities and engagement. We need to think differently. If older women feel valued and continue to contribute to society, this not only improves their quality of life but will benefit their families and communities.

With this in mind, Liptember’s partnership with Jean Hailes for Women’s Health will help aid essential research in this area. We need to better understand what determines good mental health, as well as worsening mental health, recovery from mental illness and persistent mental illness. This is important for many reasons, one of them being that good mental health supports good physical health.

As one of Australia’s leading and most trusted not-for-profit health organisations, Jean Hailes is well placed to undertake this project. The organisation has a unique model, combining clinical care and research with a dedicated department that translates the latest health findings into practical, accessible information through our website, free consumer and health professional resources, educational programs, events and media coverage. In 2016, Jean Hailes was officially recognised as the Federal Government’s national digital gateway for women’s health.

What the research will look like

From the age of about 55, many women are approaching the end of paid employment and the transition to what is often considered old age, whether or not they remain active and feel young. We will conduct our research with woman aged 55 years and older, who are identified as part of the Baby Boomer generation.
Baby Boomers experienced significant social change, including feminism and the sexual revolution. It’s reasonable to expect that their “old” age differs from that of their predecessors. At this stage of their lives, Baby Boomer women may continue to disrupt traditions and stereotypes by transforming the meaning of ageing.

To find these women, Jean Hailes has access to the most comprehensive mental health data set in Australia. They have also developed a strong network of partner research organisations as well as their own loyal Jean Hailes following through social media and free content mailing lists.

The evidence from the research will lead to the development of resources and programs that will be shared with healthcare providers, policy makers, and the community with the goal of contributing to improved wellbeing and mental health in older women in Australia.

We’re looking forward to collaborating with Jesn Hailes and sharing the results of this project—the first of its kind in Australia.

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