Better sleep and social connection: Bernie’s story

MH BERNIE 202309 0001

Published January 15 2024

Bernie is “82-years-young” and has lived in Abbotsford for more than 45 years. Since the passing of his wife, Eva, Bernie has experienced grief, anxiety and sleep problems, a­ccompanied by low moods.

He was referred to our Stepped Care for Older Adults (SCOA) program in early 2023 by St Vincent’s Hospital.

SCOA is a tailored mental health initiative for people aged 65+, or aged 50+ if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, with mild to moderate mental illness, and/or who are at risk of social isolation and loneliness. It is available in Melbourne’s northern and western metropolitan areas.

Bernie took part in the program’s Café and Stroll, Active Body Healthy Mind and Sleep Therapy groups. He says it was in the Active Body Healthy Mind group that things “started to get interesting” with camaraderie and a lessening of his burdens through shared experiences.

Bernie had his greatest success with the Sleep Therapy Group.

I didn’t realise how many bad habits I had in regard to sleep. Now most of the time I’m able to sleep without waking a number of times during the night.”

He liked the way each course was structured, and enjoyed meeting other people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Bernie says he’d definitely recommend the program to other older people who are struggling with their mental health.

Don’t give up! If you recognise that you have a problem, don’t bottle it up. Go and see a health professional, there is plenty of help out there”.

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