Senior Care

Mental Health First Aid - an innovative approach to supporting seniors’ mental health.

This session is intended for Caregivers, Patients, Professionals

If I sprain my ankle, chances are you’ll know what to do.

If I have a panic attack, chances are you won’t.

Just as physical first aid is administered to an injured person until medical treatment can be obtained, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is given until appropriate treatment is found or the crisis is resolved.

Do you have a senior in your life? Are you a service provider or an informal caregiver?

In this session, participants will hear about an initiative of the Mental Health Commission to adapt its Mental Health First Aid Basic course to specifically address the population of seniors. By the end of the presentation, participants will have a better understanding of how innovative approaches, such as this one, can contribute to supporting the mental health of seniors.

The course is intended to increase the capacity of seniors, families (informal caregivers), friends, staff in care settings and communities to promote mental health in seniors, prevent mental illness and suicide wherever possible in seniors and intervene early when problems first emerge. The new MHFA Seniors adaptation prioritizes the mental health concerns of seniors.

Why MHFA Seniors?

By 2030, nearly one in four people in Canada will be a senior.

The likelihood of experiencing a mental health problem or illness in a given year increases as of age 69.

Currently, men aged 80 and older have the highest suicide rates in Canada.

Family members or friends who are caregivers have been shown to have high rates of distress.

The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

  1. Mireille has been part of Mental Health Commission team since 2015. She works with the Mental Health First Aid Program as Manager for Business Development and Planning. She has been leading the development of the MHFA Veterans community course and has been involved in the MHFA Seniors adaptation. Mireille’s professional experience has included working at Accreditation Canada as Manager Client Services supporting organisations through the accreditation process as well as working at the Champlain Community Care Access Center as a Case Manager coordinating homecare services. Mireille holds a Master of Health Administration and a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from the University of Ottawa

  1. Denise has a Bachelor of Science degree and over 20 years of experience working in the mental health field. Her career started in nursing and has included work at a State psychiatric hospital followed by a position as Program Director for group homes with dual diagnosed individuals. Canada beckoned and Denise accepted a position as a therapist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario where she provided intensive behavioural therapy to children diagnosed with autism. Denise's most recent employment prior to moving to the Mental Health Commission of Canada in September 2011 was at the CMHA Niagara, Ontario Branch. There, Denise worked in the Justice Program providing case management support to individuals with a mental health issue who had also been charged with a criminal offense. As part of her work responsibilities at CMHA, Denise became certified in Basic MHFA. Also prior to her current role, Denise was sole proprietor of DW Consulting during which time she became certified in MHFA for Youth and has over 7 years’ experience facilitating MHFA. In January 2011, Denise became a Master Trainer providing MHFA Instructor training prior to moving into her position as Training and Delivery Specialist. She had also been an ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) trainer for 5 years.

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