Government of Canada invests $2.5 million in the mental health of older adults and caregivers

Press Release

From: Public Health Agency of Canada

Funding is part of a commitment of $100 million to support those most affected by COVID-19

February 28, 2023

While many people in Canada struggle with their mental health, certain groups face unique challenges because of systemic racism, discrimination, socio-economic status or social exclusion. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally impacted and exacerbated mental health challenges within these equity deserving communities. Among these communities, seniors have experienced many challenges to their mental health.

Today, the Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors, on behalf of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced $2.5 million in funding to the Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health (CCSMH). Through this project, the CCSMH will synthesize best evidence on anxiety, behavioral symptoms of dementia, depression and substance use disorders in older adults, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The project will develop and disseminate guidelines, training, tools and resources for health care providers, caregivers and older adults, to promote and protect the mental health of older adults.

This project is expected to reach 241,000 health professionals, and will be guided by working groups representing pan-Canadian expertise in the fields of gerontology, geriatrics, psychiatry, addiction, social work and nursing among others. The project will also incorporate the perspectives of older adults with lived experience as well as their informal caregivers.

This announcement is part of a $100 million investment provided in Budget 2021 to support projects that promote mental health and prevent mental illness in populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These include youth; seniors; First Nations, Inuit and Métis; Black and other racialized people in Canada; front-line and other essential workers; and others whose mental health has been—and continues to be—especially impacted by the pandemic.

The Government of Canada is committed to continuing to work closely with provinces and territories to ensure that investments are used in the best interest of patients and health workers.

Quotes

“The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the mental health of Canadians, particularly affecting seniors. The funding announced today will help the Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health raise awareness amongst healthcare workers and caregivers about the unique challenges seniors face when it comes to mental health. Mental health is health, and by addressing the unique needs of seniors, we can help them live happier and healthier lives.”

The Honourable Kamal Khera
Minister of Seniors

“Supporting positive mental health and well-being is a priority for our government. While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges in meeting the mental health needs of older adults, it has also acted as a catalyst for change, innovation and honest conversations that help to reduce stigma and remove barriers to care.”

The Honourable, Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health

“Recognizing that mental health issues are not a normal part of aging, with this Government of Canada funding we seek to support the increasing number of older adults at risk of worsening mental health, to prevent mental health disorders and to promote mental well-being across Canada.  We will inform health care professionals, older adults, caregivers and the general public about evidence-based best practice in the areas of depression, substance use, anxiety and behaviours related to dementia.”

Claire Checkland
Executive Director, Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health
Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the mental health of Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
  • On February 7, 2023, the Government of Canada announced that it will work collaboratively with provinces and territories on shared health priorities to improve integrated health care for Canadians, including improved access to quality mental health and substance use services.
  • Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention are critical components for well-being and can help reduce demands on the health care system. Community-based projects focussed on mental health promotion have the potential to improve health outcomes over the life course.
  • Renison University College, at the University of Waterloo, is hosting a Knowledge Development and Exchange Hub (KDE Hub) for Mental Health Promotion to support the projects funded through this investment, helping to build a community with shared interests in optimizing mental health promotion and mental illness prevention across Canada.
  • The Wellness Together Canada portal provides free access to educational content, self-guided therapy, moderated peer-to-peer support, and one-to-one counselling with qualified health professionals. If you or a loved one is struggling, you can access the Wellness Together Canada portal, or call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth).
  • Kids Help Phone is also available 24/7 with e-mental health service offering free, confidential support to young people in English and French.

Associated links

Contacts

Maja Staka
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, Carolyn Bennett
343-552-5568

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2983
media@hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Inquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709

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