Project will be guided by working groups of experts from across Canada expected to provide guidelines, training, tools and resources for health care providers, caregivers and older adults
The Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health (CCSMH) has launched a clinical guideline project, co-led by KITE scientist Dr. Andrea Iaboni, funded through $2.5 million dollars from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
This CCSMH will gather best evidence on anxiety, behavioral symptoms of dementia, depression and substance use disorders in older adults, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. It will then use this data to develop guidelines, training, tools and resources for health care providers, caregivers and older adults, to promote and protect the mental health of older adults.
“This funding represents an amazing opportunity to support the mental health of older adults in Canada. While anxiety is the most common mental health symptom in older adults, there are no guidelines available for healthcare providers” said Dr. Iaboni who is the Medical Lead of the Specialized Dementia Unit at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, associate professor at the University of Toronto’s department of psychiatry, and now the co-lead of the new CCSMH national anxiety disorders guidelines.
“This project will enhance the knowledge and skills of healthcare providers, older adults and their caregivers in managing anxiety for better well-being.”
The 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. It will also incorporate the perspectives of older adults with lived experience as well as their informal caregivers.
“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,” said the federal Minister of Seniors Kamla Khera.
“Mental health is health, and by addressing the unique needs of seniors, we can help them live happier and healthier lives.”
This announcement is part of a $100 million investment previously announced by the federal government in 2021 to support projects that promote mental health and prevent mental illness in populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.