Cultivating your mental health bears fruit in later life
National organization promotes mental well-being this Sunday, October 1st on National Seniors Day, which also coincides with the United Nations International Day of Older Persons and the Older Adults Mental Health Awareness Week (October 1-10). The awareness campaign will end on World Mental Health Day (October 10).
TORONTO, October 1, 2023 – Your mental health is like a garden. Sometimes conditions are nearly perfect for steady growth and flowering. And other times conditions can be challenging, with little water, too much shade, or scorching heat. But there’s always something you can do to tend to your mental health and help your garden grow in all seasons of life. That’s the message the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH) is sharing this National Seniors Day and during Older Adults Mental Health Awareness Week (October 1 – 10).
“This week is an occasion for Canadians to take time to recognize and celebrate the profound contributions that older adults make in our families, communities and workplaces. It is also a wonderful opportunity to shed light on ways we can better support mental well-being in all stages of our lives,” says CCSMH director of projects and public policy Brenda Martinussen. “We’re sharing resources for older adults to advocate for their well-being and further understand mental health in this season of their lives. Care partners, social service providers and health care professionals will also find important tools and professional development opportunities to best support patients in their care.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic was uniquely difficult for older Canadians, especially those living in long-term care,” says CCSMH executive director Claire Checkland. “It shined a spotlight on systemic challenges that we are eager to see addressed. And there’s great reason for hope.”
Recent findings from Mental Health Research Canada suggest that 80 per cent of older adults across Canada feel hopeful about the future. “Mental health problems not an inevitable part of aging; we have the right to mental wellness no matter our age,” says Checkland. “Our organization is committed to ensuring that older adults can get the information, resources and support they need when it comes to mental health, so that they can flourish in all seasons of life.”
As our world ages, addressing the mental health needs of older adults becomes increasingly vital. CCSMH recognizes the importance of a robust health care system to best support older adults' mental health needs and aims to empower health care professionals, older adults and care partners with the knowledge and tools necessary for the highest quality of care. The Coalition’s concerted efforts with trusted experts in the field intend to improve the mental health and wellness of older adults, empowering them to recognize and seek support when dealing with mental health issues.
“CCSMH is truly a pan-Canadian effort,” according to founding co-chair Dr. David Conn. “We have a remarkably dedicated team coming together with renewed energy to lead with evidence and empathy in support of the mental health of older adults right across the country.”
How can you support an older adult you know to flourish? To learn more, access CCSMH mental health resources, or to lend your voice to their efforts, visit their website at ccsmh.ca and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If you need emergency help, please call 911, or visit your local emergency department. To reach a local crisis line call 1-833-456-4566, toll free anywhere in Canada.
CCSMH is a national organization dedicated to promoting better mental health outcomes for older adults. Since 2002, the Coalition has brought together health professionals including physicians, nurses, and social workers as well as older adults to create clinical and public-facing resources on topics like suicide risk and prevention, depression, delirium and substance use. CCSMH is currently working on new clinical guidelines launching in 2024 for anxiety, social isolation and loneliness and the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.
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