The clinic conducts research on various topics related to mental health and older adults. Our research is supported by industry contracts, government grants, scholarships and philanthropy funding.

Elders AT Ease program (ELATE)

Delivering a blue print for mental health services in residential aged care.

By 2031, 25% of Australians will be aged 65 or older. Mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety disorders, are prevalent in this age group, particularly for those living in residential aged care settings.

We are not prepared for addressing the high prevalence of mental health conditions amongst those living in residential aged care. 

Currently, there are inadequate systems for identifying, assessing and treating residents living with poor mental health conditions. There are very few psychologists, social workers and counsellors who are trained to deliver specialist mental health treatments to this population of our elders.

The ELATE program examines the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and reminiscence techniques for reducing depression, anxiety and suicide ideation in residential aged care settings. Funded by the National Medical and Research Council, this study involves more than 50 residential aged care facilities in Victoria.

The program involves a systemic treatment approach involving residents, their family members and facility staff. Postgraduate students provide one to one psychological services to residents. In addition, family members and facility staff are upskilled and supported to better identify and manage depression and anxiety symptoms in residents.

The study provides an immediate accessible service to residents. It addresses the need to improve the training of aged care staff in recognising and responding to mental health care needs of the resident. It also addresses the need to involve families in meaning ways to assist their relatives living in residential care.

This study will help us understand the health, personal and economic outcomes of CBT and reminiscence therapy for our elders living in residential aged care settings, and will provide a blueprint for a mental health service delivery within such settings.


Chief Investigators

  • Professor Sunil Bhar, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Doctor Tanya Davison, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Professor Penelope Schofield, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Doctor Stephen Quinn, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Professor Julie Ratcliffe, Flinders University


Research team

  • Dr Joanna Waloszek, Research Fellow PhD, Research Project Manager (on maternity leave)
  • Ms Sofie Dunkerley, Project Manager
  • Rebecca Collins, Coordinator, External Relations
  • Mark Silver, Social Worker, Treatment Coordinator (Counselling services)
  • Deborah Koder, Clinical Psychologist, Clinical Research Supervisor
  • Jenny Linossier, Treatment Coordinator (Staff and family services)


If you have any questions, please contact our team at ElateProgram@swinburne.edu.au

If you would like to complete a supervised student placement with us on this project, please contact Mark Silver at msilver@swinburne.edu.au.  For more information about placements within this project, see: More information.

Get in contact

For research related enquiries ,please contact Professor Sunil Bhar on +61 3 9214 8371 or at sbhar@swinburne.edu.au

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