The Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health is the only Canadian not-for-profit organization focused soly on supporting older adults' mental health through information, resources, professional development and clinical guidelines. The CCSMH began as a project of the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry (CAGP) and continues to operate with the CAGP Board of Directors oversight.
The Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH) was established 21 years ago by a group of health care and community organizations that recognized the need for improved mental health support for older adults. during a CAGP Symposium identifying gaps in mental health services for seniors in long-term care. The symposium participants, representing more than 65 organizations from across Canada, overwhelmingly supported the establishment of the CCSMH.
The initial focus of CCSMH was on enhancing the quality of care provided in long-term care homes. The Coalition identified a significant gap in the system, where the specific mental health needs of older adults were overlooked, emphasizing the urgency to address this issue.
First clinical guidelines
In 2006, the Coalition applied for and won an initial Public Health Agency of Canada grant that supported the development of comprehensive clinical guidelines in four key areas: Mental health in Long-Term Care, Suicide Prevention, Depression, and Delirium. These guidelines served as essential tools for health care providers and caregiving professionals in supporting the delivery of mental health care to older adults.
The impact of the CCSMH has been substantial. Its founding members exhibited unwavering dedication and determination in their pursuit of improving older adults’ lives. Through these efforts, the CCSMH is making strides in putting older adults’ mental health and well-being on the Canadian health agenda.
Today, the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health continues to serve as a leader in knowledge transfer and advocacy in the field. Rooted in the passion and expertise of its founders, the Coalition’s growing team remains committed to advancing evidence-based, comprehensive and compassionate care for older adults’ mental health. Through ongoing innovation and collaboration, the CCSMH strives to overcome barriers and ensure that every older adult receives the support they require. The CCSMH’s enduring legacy is one of compassion, understanding, and a relentless commitment to a brighter future for older adults across Canada.