The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has launched a new program designed to help health care providers, caregivers—and seniors themselves—recognize mental health problems or illnesses among seniors and intervene early.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Seniors, the latest adaptation of the MHFA basic course, was developed in consultation with experts in the field of geriatric psychiatry.
MHFA is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just like physical first aid is provided until medical treatment can be obtained, MHFA is given until appropriate support is found or until the crisis is resolved.
The MHCC paired with Trillium Health Partners, an organization that prioritizes seniors’ health and wellness, and its foundation, to tailor the content to the unique needs of seniors. This work was supported in part by a grant from GlaxoSmithKline.
In Canada, more than 1.8 million people over the age of 60 live with a mental health problem or illness. As the average age of the Canadian population climbs, it is important to recognize the factors that make seniors more resistant to poor mental health. Good overall health, maintaining the ability to participate in physical and other activities, and strong social connections are vital to good mental health and their absence can leave seniors vulnerable.
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