Ontario Investing in New Program to Support Seniors’ Mental Health in Sault Ste. Marie

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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 well-being. With an estimated seventeen to thirty per
cent of older adults suffering from a mental health disorder, Ontario’s government is protecting what matters most by supporting the development of a new Seniors Mental Health and Addictions educational program.

The government will be investing $250,000 to develop and deliver, with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), a new resource to help respond to the rising rates of mental health and addiction issues amongst seniors in Sault Ste. Marie.

“This is another example of how our government is putting seniors first by providing essential
supports and services to help improve their well-being,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. This is what a government for the people does – we protect what matters most to help seniors live healthy, active, safe and socially connected lives.”

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

“We are taking action to improve the dignity and quality of life for all seniors in Ontario,” said Ross Romano, Member of Provincial Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie. “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 in Sault Ste. Marie.”

“Our government is investing in frontline services by funding new mental health programs and
services for seniors across the province,” said Minister Elliott. “This funding will fill critical gaps as we develop and implement a comprehensive and connected mental health strategy that better supports the complex needs of seniors.”

“I look forward to working closely with Minister Elliott and Minister Cho to ensure that we provide effective mental health programs and services for our seniors,” said Minister Tibollo. “Too many of Ontario’s seniors have waited too long for the mental health services they require. By investing in frontline programs and services, we will continue moving forward to create a mental health system in Ontario that fully supports our seniors.”

This funding is part of the additional $174 million the government is providing this year to address critical gaps in services across Ontario and support patients and families living with mental health and addictions challenges.

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

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