Event Category: Seminar

VTMH May Seminar 2020


Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath, Director Social Gerontology, National Ageing Research Institute (NARI)


The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated ageism and racism. Concurrently, physical distancing measures, across Australia and internationally, have left many older people socially isolated, including older people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

This presentation will canvas the risks associated with social isolation for older people as well as discuss the specific risks for older CALD people. It will discuss response options from a population-level perspective – focusing on mental health, carer wellbeing, and elder abuse – highlighting key resources and tools that frontline practitioners can use in their daily practice.

About the speaker

Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath is the Divisional Director of Social Gerontology at the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI). Her disciplinary training is in medical anthropology and public health and her research expertise is in cultural diversity, dementia, and mental health. Within these disciplinary and contextual boundaries, she has undertaken several studies exploring mental health and culture, mental health and the life-course, and dementia and cultural diversity. She has authored over 100 publications, including a sole-authored book with Berghahn Books titled Unforgotten: Love and the culture of dementia care in India and is the lead investigator for the Moving Pictures study in Australia and in India. In recognition of her research, she was awarded the Victorian Young Tall Poppy Award in 2018.


VTMH March Seminar 2020


Dr. Charles Le Feuvre, Vice President, Psychology for a safe climate


This presentation will look at the tremendous distress caused by the recent bushfires, both by the fires themselves and as signifying climate change in the here and now.

Background issues will be discussed including ways of seeing the natural environment from psychological and other perspectives including transcultural, the current and future climate, and how we process climate change emotionally. We will also discuss the use of denial (including denial of our dependence on nature) and climate change related mental health issues, focussing particularly on ecological grief and eco-anxiety.

How can we respond to climate/ ecological grief and anxiety in ourselves and others? How can we respond as individuals and groups to climate change? These issues will be explored, including the work of Psychology for a Safe Climate (PSC). The need for strong compassionate leadership, urgent political action, and a cultural shift will be emphasised.

About the speaker

Dr Charles Le Feuvre is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist and has been involved with Psychology for a Safe Climate (PSC) for ten years. He is currently PSC’s Vice President.

PSC’s purpose is to contribute psychological understanding and support within the community, helping people face the difficult climate reality.

In response to the bushfires, PSC wrote a booklet ‘Staying engaged in the climate and bushfire crisis’.