Mental Health Services for Older People

The Mental Health Services for Older People team cares for people with a dementia diagnosis or suspected dementia and people over 65 years of age with Mental Health Problems.

We provide a range of health and social care services for older people in the community, at home and in hospital.  This section is designed to be a resource for you to find out more about these services and the supports available to you.

  • Outpatient Clinics

    We provide Consultant-led multidisciplinary Outpatient Clinics for individuals who are experiencing new or on-going mental health problems. Referral is via your GP. Assessments will identify and support your mental health recovery plan.

    Clinics are provided in:

    • Downe Hospital
    • Ards Community Hospital
    • Lagan Valley Hospital
  • Community Mental Health Teams

    Our Community Mental Health Teams are based in Lisburn, Bangor, Newtownards, and Downpatrick.

    We provide community based support across the South Eastern Trust area to enable individuals and their carers/families to cope with their experience of dementia or mental illness.  Our Community Mental Health Teams are made up of Community Mental Health Nurses, Social Workers, Dementia Navigators, and Community Support Workers.

    Team members will work in partnership with your GP and Consultant Psychiatrist.  They can offer assessment, education, advice and therapeutic support.  As the teams are based in the community, they are aware of other supports and services that might help improve your health and wellbeing, and can help you and your carer/family member to access these.

    Referrals are via your GP, the Consultant teams, and other professionals.

  • Community Care Team

    Our Community Care Team will work in partnership with you and your family/carer to enable you to remain in your own home for as long as possible.  Your Community Care Keyworker will assess your needs and will develop a support plan that is tailored to the specific support your require.

    Using a Self-Directed Support model of care, you may be offered, for example, assistance with getting in and out of bed, washing/dressing, and with meals.  In the event that you require a residential or nursing care home placement, your keyworker will offer support and will provide you and your family with practical and financial information.

    Your Keyworker will work to ensure that the care you receive is of a high quality and will review this care on a regular basis to ensure it meets your needs.

    Referral to this service is via your GP, your Consultant, or your community mental health nurse or social worker.

  • Inpatient Mental Health Wards

    We strive to support people in their usual residence however sometimes a hospital admission is essential. We have three Mental Health Inpatient Units. These services are provided in Downe Hospital, Lagan Valley hospital and the Ulster Hospital.

    Referral can be arranged through your GP or Mental Health Professional.

    Admission must be agreed by the Consultant Psychiatrist.

    Contact Details

    Lagan Valley Hospital Tel: (028) 9263 6518

    Downe Hospital Tel: (028) 4483 8267

    Ulster Hospital Tel: (028) 9055 3220

  • Psychology Service for Older People, Psychological Interventions and Support

    The Clinical Psychology Service for Older People is provided within the context of the multidisciplinary Mental Health Service to Older People (MHSOP) team which is sometimes also referred to as Old Age Psychiatry.

    The service is led by a Consultant Clinical Psychologist who is based at Lagan Valley Hospital and we also have a part-time Specialist Clinical Psychologist based at Downpatrick and a part-time Specialist Clinical Psychologist based at Newtownards. We also have two part time Cognitive Behaviour Therapists who work with this client group, one in Lisburn and one in Newtownards.

    Location of the Service

    We offer out-patient services in three locations across the Trust, namely Lisburn (at Lagan Valley Hospital), Downpatrick (at the Downe Hospital and the Downshire Estate) and Newtownards (at McQueen Home, Ards Community Hospital). We also see in-patients at Lagan Valley Hospital, the Downe Hospital and the Ulster Hospital. Where necessary we also see clients in their own homes.

    Target Groups/Age Limits

    We see individual clients who are aged 65 years and over, with or without a carer, as they prefer. Our clients are usually referred by Psychiatrists working in the Mental Health Service for Older People.


    We offer psychotherapeutic input to individual clients presenting with the full range of mental health problems but most commonly; anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, personality difficulties, sexual abuse and adjustment difficulties.

    Clients will often be concurrently receiving care from other members of the multi-disciplinary team most notably Psychiatrists and Community Psychiatric Nurses and we try to maintain good channels of communication.

    We also offer a neuropsychological assessment service to aid in the differential diagnosis of dementia in complex cases. This involves the testing of memory and other cognitive functions. Clients who are referred to this service are seen alone or with a partner/carer as they wish and the carer is involved in the assessment process from the history taking until the feedback stage with the client’s consent. As an adjunct to this service we provide advice in behavioural management for formal and informal carers.

    We also contribute to training programmes for carers of those who have a dementing condition.

    Method of Referral and Criteria

    Referrals to our service come from Psychiatrists who work in Mental Health Services for Older People. The wider multidisciplinary service for people aged over 65 is working towards a single point of access and in the interim, the Psychiatrists or Community Psychiatric Nurses may send on referrals to Clinical Psychology which have come into the service from General Practitioners but whose needs would be best met by Clinical Psychology and Psychological Therapies. Referrals are usually made by letter but will sometimes be discussed in advance in person or by telephone.

  • Old Age Psychiatry Liaison Service (OPALS)

    This is a nurse led service that provides psychiatric assessment and planned interventions to promote recovery and well-being in adults over the age of 65 who have been admitted to general hospital.

    Referral is through the hospital professional team.

    Delirium, sometimes called ‘acute confusional state’, can be associated with a hospital admission in older people. Watch this video to find out more about delirium.

    Delirium is a common but serious medical emergency that can increase the:

    • risk of dementia
    • risk of death
    • length of stay in hospital
    • in-hospital complications
    • risk of admission to long-term care
  • Support Organisations

    Age NI
    3 Lower Crescent
    Belfast BT7 1NR
    Tel: 08088 087 575

    British Deaf Association
    Weaver’s Court, Unit 5c
    Linfield Rod
    Belfast BT12 5G
    Tel: (028) 9043 7480

    Carers Northern Ireland
    58 Howard Street
    Belfast BT1 6PJ
    Tel: (028) 9043 9843

    Building 2
    Lesley Office Park
    393 Holywood Road
    Belfast BT4 2LS
    Helpline: 08456 030 291

    Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Interpreting Service
    Business Services Organisation
    Franklin Street
    Belfast BT2 8DQ
    Tel: (028) 9536 3777

    Patient and Client Council
    Ormeau Baths
    18 Ormeau Ave
    Belfast BT2 8HS
    Tel: 0800 917 0222

    LGBT Centre
    23-31 Waring St
    Belfast BT1 2DX
    Tel: (028) 9031 9030

    3rd & 4th Floors
    3 Glengall Street
    Belfast BT12 5AB
    Tel:  (028) 9032 3454