Past Free Webcast – Scrambling to Meet the Need: Mental Health Resources for Older Adults – August 3rd, 2022

Earn 1 hr CEU, pre-approved for Social Workers by BOSW; self-submit other disciplines.
MGS is an approved Continuing Education Resource by the MN Board of Nursing.
(The CEU is free for MGS members; $15 for non-members.)

Presenter: Chris Westergaard, Touchstone Mental Health Services

Handout Scrambling to Meet the Need 8.3.22

This presentation will explore current challenges (and an emerging solution) to providing effective mental health care for older adults, including:

  1. Workforce shortages within care provider field;
  2. Mental health care affordability;
  3. Disparities in access to mental health care among disparate populations; and
  4. Continuing emphasis on the “traditional” cognitive needs of older adults.

Licensing, legislative elements, Medicare reimbursement and outdated systems for defining mental health for older adults fall within these challenges. Solutions to the issues of access, licensing and reimbursement will be presented as part of a working model using a gero-psychological approach to the symptoms of mental illness in older adults. An overview of the specific hurdles faced by the increasingly diverse population of older adults is included, with accompanying (if fledgling) solutions.


  • Outline gaps in mental health services accessible to older adults
  • Understand the systemic challenges and themes underlying capacity of older adult of mental health services
  • Define and discuss gero-psychology strategies in use to focus on unique mental health needs of the diverse population of older adults

Chris Westergaard, MSW, LICSW, CPPM

Chris works to provide behavioral health supports at Touchstone Mental Health Services; Minnesota’s first permanent supportive housing program focused on older adults. He has worked in the mental health field for twenty years, working with children, adults, and families.  His experience includes providing and managing long-term care, individual and group psychotherapy, and in-home supports and services.