Morinville hosting two mental health sessions for seniors

Above: An anxiety workshop was held Jan. 16. Two more mental health sessions take place this month and next.

by Stephen Dafoe

Primary Care Network St. Albert & Sturgeon is partnering with Morinville’s Family and Community Support Services Department to deliver two Lunch & Learn Workshops on mental health over the next month. Earlier this year the partnership provided a session on anxiety. The next two are about stress on Feb. 20 and understanding depression on Mar. 11. Both sessions are no cost events and take place at the cultural centre from 10:30 a.m. until noon.

Morinville’s FCSS Community Program Coordinator Melonie Dziwenka said last fall Primary Care Network approached her department with the idea of bringing in workshops on topics that directly affected seniors. It was decided to do the three sessions as lunch and learns, allowing seniors to attend in the morning and then stay for lunch.

“They specifically address what we thought were senior’s issues,” Dziwenka said. “The anxiety – moving, downsizing. Depresssion – lack of family being around. What we didn’t realize is that it would spark another group of adults in the community. We are working now for the fall on offering an adult series.”

Those fall adult sessions will be set for the evenings.

For now, the mental health sessions are geared specifically to seniors, 55 and over; however, adult children and siblings are welcome to attend with their parent.

“As an adult, I’m not worried about being alone in a home. We’re busy working and active,” Dziwenka said. “Our depression can be triggered from different places where there is sitting, [looking] out the window with no one visiting.”

The Feb. 20 session focuses on stress. Participants will learn about the different types of stress, coping strategies for day-to-day stress, caregiver stress and what to do when things feel out of control.

The Mar. 11 session will explore the common signs and symptoms of depression, causes and treatment options, and how to help a loved one who may be depressed.

Dziwenka said much of the anxiety and depression in older adults stems from a loss of independence. The FCSS department is working on aging well programming that will add additional help to local seniors in the community.

“We know that a lot of [senior depression] is the lifestyle change,” she said. “They were active in the community and now don’t have the access, revenue or transportation to do that stuff. How do we help them deal with what they can? How do we support our aging population to be as strong as they still can be?”

For more information and to register for the lunch and learn workshops, visit and select senior from the options menu.

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