May 2, 2016 — May 2-8, 2016 is Mental Health Week and communities across the country will GET LOUD and raise their voices in support of mental health and well-being for all. Raising our voices this week — and every other week in the year — is crucial to tearing down the stigma and the discrimination that often accompany mental illness.
This year, the group of focus for the week is the fastest growing demographic in Canada, with one in four of them reportedly living with a mental health problem or illness: seniors. Too often, mental health problems or illnesses are considered an inevitable consequence of aging. Furthermore, seniors are doubly stigmatized for both being older and for having a mental health problem. During Mental Health Week, let’s all GET LOUD and send the message that treatment for mental health problems and illnesses is critical, regardless of age. It’s never too early, or too late, to seek help.
For the first time ever, StatsCan is reporting there are more people in Canada over the age of 65 than there are under age 15. As this trend continues, governments, health leaders and communities will have to reinforce the need for mental health care positioned especially for seniors, more community-based outreach and primary health care, and enhanced mental health knowledge for formal and family caregivers.
The MHCC recently published Guidelines for Comprehensive Mental Health Services for Older Adults in Canada, which presents a model for an integrated mental health service system for older Canadians. The guidelines were created to help policy-makers, service planners and advocacy organizations ensure that all older Canadians, both those living with or at risk of a mental health problem or illness, receive the appropriate range of supports they need. In the coming months, the MHCC will release a seniors’ version of its Mental Health First Aid, aimed at improving mental health literacy and educating people to better manage potential or developing mental health problems in themselves, a family member, friend or colleague.
I invite you to visit www.mentalhealthcommission.ca for more information about Mental Health Week.
ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION OF CANADA
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are collaborating with hundreds of partners 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 and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. Together we create change. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.
www.mentalhealthcommission.ca | strategy.mentalhealthcommission.ca
Kate Headley, Manager of Marketing and Communications
Mental Health Commission of Canada