Seniors want to remain active and live independently in age-friendly communities that are open to their full participation.

Yet, many seniors face challenges accessing programs that support their mental health and wellbeing. With an estimated seventeen to thirty per cent of older adults suffering from a mental health disorder, Ontario is investing $250,000  to develop and deliver a new seniors’ mental health and addictions educational program with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The new resource will help respond to the rising rates of mental health and addiction issues amongst seniors in Ontario.

“We are taking action to improve the dignity and quality of life for all seniors in Ontario,” said Kaleed Rasheed, member of provincial parliament for Mississauga East-Cooksville.

“As a representative for a riding with many seniors, I know there is a need for action. This new program will educate seniors on common risk factors and prevention strategies, signs and symptoms of mental health and addiction issues, and how to access appropriate supports”

Components of the program which was designed after consulting with CAMH and other clinical subject matter experts, as well as community mental health and addictions service providers will include resource materials and a workshop series.

It will be delivered across the province in community settings such as seniors’ active living centres by in-person facilitators with expertise in mental health and addictions in early 2020.

 As Ontarians aged 65 and older are the province’s fastest growing demographic, it is important to educate seniors to help prevent and address mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as alcohol addiction and opioid use disorder.

A few quick facts:

• Up to thirty per cent of older adults aged 65 and up have a mental health disorder. 

• Canadian studies have found that rates of depression in long-term care facilities can be as high as forty per cent, and the rate of depression in older adults within hospitals range from twelve to forty-five per cent.

• According to The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, more than thirteen per cent of Canadians age 55 and older report a pattern of problematic binge drinking.

• Ontario is committed to invest $3.8 billion over the next ten years to develop and implement a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions strategy.

Desi News