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Government of Canada Launches Seniors' Mental Health Initiative

Partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart and the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health will provide mental health resources and support for seniors and their families

July 27, 2015 - Nanaimo, BC - Public Health Agency of Canada

Today, Minister John Duncan, Chief Government Whip and Member of Parliament for Vancouver Island North, and Cathy McLeod, Parliamentary Secretary to the Federal Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Kamloops – Thompson - Cariboo, together with representatives from Shoppers Drug Mart and the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH), launched an initiative to provide resources and support for seniors living with mental health issues.

Through the Seniors’ Mental Health Initiative, seniors and their families will have access to current mental health information and to frontline health professionals who can help. Two brochures have been designed to promote awareness of the signs, symptoms and factors that can lead to mental health issues. In addition, the CCSMH developed continuing education modules on depression and suicide prevention, so that pharmacists are equipped to support and guide a senior or their family to appropriate resources.

While in Nanaimo, Parliamentary Secretary McLeod is also hosting a Roundtable on healthy aging, which is bringing together local seniors and stakeholder groups to discuss how older adults can lead longer, healthier lives by staying socially-connected, increasing their levels of physical activity, eating in a healthy way, and taking steps to minimize their risks for falls.

Quick Facts

  • Each year, about one in every five Canadians will experience mental health problems or illnesses.
  • While depression is the most common mental health problem among seniors – it is not a normal part of aging. Untreated, it can become a risk factor for suicide.
  • The Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health received $100,000 from the Government of Canada to develop mental health resources for seniors and their families, as well as develop and deliver accredited continuing education for pharmacists on depression and suicide prevention.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart contributed to the development of the brochures and training modules for their pharmacists, and will promote and distribute these new resources through their Canadian network of stores, including Pharmaprix in Quebec. This new information is also available online.
  • This initiative responds to recommendations made by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in the Mental Health Strategy for Canada, to increase the capacity of older adults, families, as well as care settings and communities to promote mental health later in life.


"Our Government is committed to supporting the mental health and well-being of Canada’s seniors and their families and are pleased to be working with the Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health and Shoppers Drug Mart on an initiative that will improve the quality of life among seniors.”
Minister John Duncan
Chief Government Whip and MP for Vancouver Island North

"The launch of the new Seniors' Mental Health Initiative underscores our Government’s commitment to support seniors so that they can continue to participate in their communities and enjoy the best quality of life possible. In keeping with this commitment, I was pleased to host a Roundtable in Nanaimo, British Columbia today to hear from local seniors about healthy aging issues that are important to them".
Cathy McLeod
Parliamentary Secretary to the Federal Minister of Health and MP for Kamloops – Thompson – Cariboo

“Depression isn’t easy for seniors to talk about, but your local Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist can help. Thanks to new education and information available in our stores, our pharmacists can help seniors to detect symptoms of mental illness and access treatment. I want to thank the Government of Canada and the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health for their support of this crucial initiative.”
Mike Motz, President
Shoppers Drug Mart

“Seniors and their caregivers are looking for accurate information about the signs of depression and suicide, treatment options, where to get help, and how to live and age well. That’s why we are so pleased to partner with the Government of Canada and Shoppers Drug Mart to develop and make these important resources available to seniors across Canada.”
Dr. David Conn, Co-Chair
Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health