Responding to Behavioral Health Needs Among Older Adults

Summer Webinar Series

The 8th Annual MSSA Region 9-MSU, Mankato Summer Conference was sponsored by MSU, Mankato MSW Program, MSU, Mankato Aging Studies Program, and MSSA Region 9, and focused on topics related to behavioral health in aging populations. 

Webinar Dates: June 1, June 8, June 15, June 21, 2021

Continuing Education:
The webinar series offered 4 CEUs.


Session 1: Social Isolation and Loneliness in Rural Areas: Implications for Health and Well-being

June 1, 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Presenter: Carrie Henning-Smith, PhD, MSW, MPH, University of Minnesota School of Public Health

This session will begin with a description of the health impacts and prevalence of social isolation and loneliness. It will then discuss rural/urban differences in social isolation and loneliness and unique challenges to improving social connectedness in rural areas. Next, it will discuss social isolation and loneliness among distinct rural populations, including older adults, caregivers, and people living alone. Finally, the presentation will end with implications for policy and practice to prevent and address social isolation and loneliness among rural residents. 

Session 2: Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives (PEARLS): A new evidence-based initiative

June 8, 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Presenter: Glenda Becthold, LSW, VINE Faith in Action

PEARLS is a national evidence-based program for late-life depression that empowers older adults by teaching them skills to take action. PEARLS is a person-centered, team-based approach which leads participants in six-eight coaching sessions focused on brief behavioral techniques based on the “here and now”. This presentation will educate participants on the unique approach PEARLS brings in helping older adults reduce symptoms of depression.

Session 3: Age-Friendly Communities in Minnesota

June 15, 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Presenter: Kelly McDonough, LSW, Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging

An age friendly community encourages active aging through intentional development of opportunities for health, community participation and security to enhance the aging experience as increasingly, more older adults choose to remain in their homes. Age friendly communities adapt the environmental structure and services to be accessible and inclusive of older people with varying needs, capacities, and preferences. 

Session 4: Behavioral Health in Older Adults: A Growing Epidemic

June 21, 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Presenter: Sara Boughton, LCSW, Mayo Clinic Health System – Eau Claire


The focus of this webinar will be, not only exploring mental health and addiction issues within the elderly population, but also barriers to obtaining treatment. This is a growing population within our communities, but also one that receives the least amount of screening and treatment due to a variety of reasons.