Government partners on Seniors’ Mental Health Initiative

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by Morinville News Staff

Seniors and their families will have access to current mental health information and frontline health professionals who can help following the launch of the Government of Canada’s Seniors’ Mental Health Initiative. the project is a partnership between the government, Shoppers Drug Mart and the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH).

The Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Mental Health Strategy for Canada recommended doing more to promote mental health later in life. The Seniors’ Mental Health Initiative is a response to those recommendations.

Two brochures have been designed to promote awareness of the signs, symptoms and factors that can lead to mental health issues. Additionally, the CCSMH developed continuing education modules on depression and suicide prevention, so pharmacists are better equipped to support and guide seniors or their family to appropriate resources.

“Seniors and their caregivers are looking for accurate information about the signs of depression and suicide, treatment options, where to get help, and how to live and age well,” said Dr. David Conn, Co-Chair
Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health.

CCSMH received $100,000 from the government to develop mental health resources for seniors and their families, as well as develop and deliver accredited continuing education for pharmacists on depression and suicide prevention.

Shoppers Drug Mart contributed to the development of the brochures and training modules for their pharmacists. They will promote and distribute the resources through their Canadian stores and make the information available online.

The government sees the initiative as important and say one in five Canadians will experience mental health problems or illnesses. Although the government says depression is the most common mental health problem among seniors, it is not a normal part of aging. Untreated, it can become a risk factor for suicide.

More information on seniors’ mental health is available from the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health at ccsmh.ca/en/default.cfm.

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