Collaborative Mental Health Care, Older People and Sleep Disturbance

Date produced 20 August 2013

The interdisciplinary panel explore the links between ageing, mental health and sleep as they relate to Wayne, a recently retired older man whose wife is worried may be depressed. Explore how mental health professionals can work together and work better to support older people affected by mental health issues and sleep disturbance.

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Learning outcomes

By watching this webinar you will:

  • develop a raised awareness of the link between mental health and sleep disturbances
  • be better able to identify the key principles of the featured panellists’ approach in assessing, treating and  supporting Wayne
  • identify the merits, challenges and opportunities in providing collaborative care for Wayne.


Professor Shantha M.W Rajaratnam
Qualifications: Ph.D.
Profession: President, Australasian Sleep Association. Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Programs, School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University.
Based in: Melbourne, Victoria
Shantha Rajaratnam was awarded his PhD degree from Monash University in 1998, and Bachelor of Laws degree in 2000. He undertook postdoctoral training at the Centre for Chronobiology at the University of Surrey, UK from 2000-2002, where he investigated human sleep-wake regulation, in particular the role of melatonin.

In 2004 he took up a visiting academic position at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, USA, investigating the impact of melatonin agonists and light on sleep and circadian rhythms, and fatigue management programs in occupational settings.

Since 2006 he has served as Chair of the Monash Sleep Network. He is a Lecturer in Medicine in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Neuroscientist in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He is a Psychologist, Chartered Psychologist in the UK and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.


  • Dr Roderick McKay
    Profession: Psychiatrist
    Based in: NSW

    Dr Roderick McKay is a psychiatrist who works with older people. His clinical career has focussed on working with people in the south west of Sydney in community, residential care and inpatient settings.

    He is a:

    • Senior Staff Specialist, South Western Sydney LHD; Clinical Advisor to the NSW Older People's Mental Health Policy Unit
    • conjoint senior lecturer, University of NSW
    • current bi-national Chair of the Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

  • Dr David Cunnington
    Profession: Sleep Physician & Director, Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre
    Based in: Melbourne, Victoria
    Dr David Cunnington has a busy clinical practice in sleep medicine, encompassing all aspects of sleep including snoring and sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs, hypersomnias, and managing the complex interactions between sleep and physical and mental health.

    Dr Cunnington trained in sleep medicine both in Australia and at Harvard Medical School in the United States. He has international qualifications in sleep medicine and the use of behavioural and psychological treatments in sleep.

    These broad training experiences and qualifications allow Dr Cunnington to use a range of non-drug treatments in managing sleep problems, as well as use medications when needed.

  • Professor Colette Browning
    Profession: Health Psychologist
    Based in: Melbourne, Victoria
    Professor Colette Browning is an expert in healthy ageing and behaviour change science especially amongst older people and people with chronic illness. Her research focuses on healthy ageing and improving quality of life for older people, chronic disease self-management and consumer involvement in health care decision-making.

    She is Professor of Healthy Ageing at Monash University and Director of Monash Research for an Ageing Society. Professor Browning is Honorary Professor at Peking University and is Director of the Happy Life Club program, a chronic illness management program in China. She is Co-Director of the Melbourne Longitudinal Studies on Healthy Ageing Program, an ongoing 16-year study of older people. Professor Browning’s research is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council.

  • Dr Richard Kidd
    Profession: General Practitioner
    Based in: Queensland

    Dr Kidd has vast clinical experience gained through working as a highly regarded GP for the past 30 years, and has been as equally devoted in his service to the profession. He is an International Medical Graduate Auckland and has been a General Practitioner since 1983, including two years volunteer Medical Officer in Charge of Raihu Hospital in Aitape, Papua New Guinea and two years Queensland Rural Sarina, St George, Oakey. He has special interests in Aged Care, Mental Health, Palliative Care and Medical Education.

    Dr Kidd has served the Australian Medical Association (AMA) in numerous capacities both in Queensland and at the national level, including AMA Queensland President-elect in 2010-11 and President in 2011-12, as well as current Chair of the AMA Queensland Council of General Practice. He also represents AMA Queensland on Federal AMA committees including Healthy Ageing, Economics and Workforce, and the Indigenous Taskforce.

The following feedback was provided by those who participated in the live webinar.

Learning needs

  • 99% of respondents indicated their learning needs were ‘entirely met’ or ‘partially met’.

Relevance to practice

  • 76% stated it was ‘entirely relevant’.
  • 22% marked it as ‘partially relevant’.

 Practice change

  • 93% of respondents intend to make changes to their clinical work practice as a result of attending the webinar.
  • 36% of respondents said it would give them more confidence in providing care to older people and mental health and /or sleep disturbance.
  •  22% of respondents said it would improve their referral process due to a better understanding of different disciplines.
  • 11% said they felt an increased willingness to discuss other professional options with their clients.

This webinar was produced in August 2013. The Mental Health Professionals’ Network’s webinars are produced for mental health professionals. The information is intended for suitably-experienced mental health professionals and does not replace clinical judgement and decision making. It is intended for use as a guide of a general nature only and may or may not be relevant to particular patients or circumstances. The subject matter is not exhaustive of any mental health conditions presented. Health professionals implementing any recommendations contained in the webinar must exercise their own independent skill or judgement or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular circumstances when so doing. Any information presented in the webinar recording was deemed relevant at the time of the live event and after this date has not been reviewed. No guarantee can be given that the information is free from error or omission.

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