Newsletter May 2011

During the month of May we celebrate Mother’s Day, Victoria Day, MS Awareness Month and National Mental Health Week.

Appreciation and congratulations to Bell Canada who contributed $10 million to Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the largest corporate donation ever made to mental health in the country.

The newsletter this month focuses on senior’s mental health and the number of different ways it can be impacted.

Regardless of whether you are a health practitioner, caregiver or care recipient, mental health awareness is important. For working caregivers, read this month’s cover story in Esperanza Magazine for tips and helpful information.

Seniors Mental Health

According to Health Canada about 11% of men and 16% of women in Canada will experience major depression in the course of their lives. Mental health specialists generally agree on the following definition of major depression:

– Decreased sex drive
– Thoughts of death or suicide
– Marked restlessness or slowed-down movement
– Feelings of worthless or excessively guilty
– Trouble concentrating
– Sleeping more or less than usual
– Low energy or fatigue,
– People have either depressed moods or seem unable to enjoy life
– Symptoms persist for two weeks or longer

These symptoms should be viewed as possible symptoms of a treatable illness and are NOT a result of the aging process. Depression can be defined as an imbalance of brain chemicals triggered by stress and life events, including biological, psychological and social factors.

The World Health Organization states that depression affects roughly 121 million people worldwide. The Canadian Mental Health Association advises in Canada 13% of this population are individuals 65 years and older. Treatment for depression works, yet too many people remain undiagnosed and untreated because they don’t recognize the signs and symptoms of depression. Read more

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