THL447 Pastoral Care in Mental Health and Dementia (8)


This subject addresses the challenges of providing effective pastoral and spiritual care to older adults adversely affected by mental health problems, including dementia. It carefully examines mental health and illness issues relating to ageing and explores appropriate pastoral care strategies to maximise quality of life for older people. Issues of faith and meaning are explored in relation to depression, dementia and other mental health issues in later life, and appropriate referral processes are addressed.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 2
Distance*Canberra Campus
*This subject offering contains a residential school. Please view following information for further details.
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL447
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLSchool of Theology

Enrolment restrictions

Master of Arts (Ageing and Pastoral Studies)
Graduate Diploma of Ageing and Pastoral Studies
Master of Ministry

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to provide evidence of an in-depth understanding of mental health issues evident among older adults, and their relevance to the provision of spiritual and pastoral care;
  • be able to identify and discuss effective communication skills for working with older people who have dementia, depression and other mental health issues;
  • be able to demonstrate advanced knowledge in the critical evaluation of the spiritual and religious needs of people with mental health issues;
  • be able to discern and evaluate culturally relevant care within a pastoral context; and
  • be able to demonstrate a critical appreciation of pastoral care strategies to maximise quality of life for older people living with mental health problems.


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • mental health and illness in later life
  • mental health, spirituality and religion
  • issues of faith and meaning in mental illness and ageing
  • the relationship between mental health and spirituality in later life
  • spiritual and pastoral modalities of care for mental illness in later life
  • dementia: prevalence and types
  • recognising depression, dementia and delirium and their implications for spiritual and pastoral care
  • depression and pastoral care
  • suicide and suicide risk in later life, spiritual and pastoral approaches
  • psychotic illnesses in later life and pastoral care
  • specific assessment skills in the practice of spiritual and pastoral care in mental health and illness
  • appropriate referral skills in mental health and pastoral care
  • varying cultural responses to mental illness in later life
  • providing pastoral and spiritual care in the dementia care setting
  • providing liturgy for older adults who have mental illness


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.