Calgary, Alberta, October 12, 2011 –The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) unveiled new guidelines for seniors’ mental health today at the annual scientific meeting of the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry (CAGP), in Vancouver, BC. The Guidelines aim to improve mental health care for Canada’s senior citizens.
“The Guidelines contain recommendations, service benchmarks and many ideas to help ensure that older Canadians living with mental health problems and illnesses receive optimal and comprehensive services and supports,” said Marie‐France Tourigny‐Rivard MD, Chair of the MHCC’s Seniors Advisory Committee.
Tourigny‐Rivard kicked off the CAGP meeting by outlining some of the key elements of the Guidelines.
The ten main recommendations of the Guidelines include: (for the complete report and details of the recommendations, please visit www.mhccseniorsguidelines.ca)
1. Understanding local context and resources
2. Developing policies using the Seniors Policy Lens Toolkit
3. Mental health promotion
4. Prevention strategies
5. Recovery and well‐being for all
6. Collaboration for an accessible range of services
7. Benchmarks for specialized services
8. Cultural safety and diversity
9. Caregivers as active partners
10. Education and training
“The completion of the updated Guidelines for Comprehensive Mental Health Services for Older Adults in Canada is a major accomplishment for the Mental Health Commission of Canada,” said Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the MHCC. “This document will help to ensure that the diverse mental health needs of Canadian seniors are met in the coming decades. As a former seniors’ mental health clinical nurse specialist, I know these guidelines will prove incredibly valuable to those providing the services.”
The first of Canada’s boomers are turning 65 this year, with millions more to mark that milestone over the next 25 years. By 2036, Canada will have around 10 million seniors, who will outnumber children for the first time in history.
With a large, rapidly aging population comes the challenge of meeting additional health care needs. Already, about one in four Canadian seniors is living with a mental illness such as depression, dementia, anxiety, or a psychotic disorder. Health policy experts say that now is the time to prepare our health and social services systems for these challenges.
The Guidelines were developed through the MHCC advisory committee on seniors’ mental health with input from seniors, their families, and service planners and providers from across the country. The document will assist policy makers, service planners and providers, and advocacy organizations working to ensure that all older Canadians and
family caregivers receive the range of supports they need.
To view the interactive Guidelines visit www.mhccseniorsguidelines.ca
About the Mental Health Commission of Canada
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for transformative change. Our mission is to work with stakeholders to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental health problems lead meaningful and productive lives.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.
Kristin Bernhard, Communication Specialist
Office: 403 385‐4066/Cell: 403 620‐2339