On Thursday, October 10, 2013, mental health organizations across the globe will celebrate World Mental Health Day. Led by the World Federation of Mental Health, World Mental Health Day is supported by the World Health Organization as an important day to raise awareness and advocate for better care for those with mental health issues worldwide. This year’s theme is mental health and older adults, in recognition of the fact that the growing proportion of the world’s people are reaching old age as a result of improving health care and living standards.
Unfortunately, the increased health risks associated with old age leave older people at risk for mental health issues. Long-term conditions such as heart conditions, cancer and diabetes are known to place people at risk for mental disorders, with an increased risk of depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Dementia is also a rising problem as more people live into old age.
The social determinants of health are particularly pertinent to older adults, as they are more at risk for factors such as loss of independence, poverty, and social isolation which can affect emotional well-being and result in poorer mental health.
In Canada, depression is the most common mental health problem for older adults, with substantial depressive symptoms affecting an estimated 15 percent of those living in the community and up to 44 percent of residents in long-term care homes. Research also shows that men aged 80 and older have the highest suicide rate in Canada.
To help spread awareness about the growing impact of mental health issues across all ages, CMHA Ontario has created the following infographic to share. Click on the image below to download and share.
You can read more about World Mental Health Day on the World Federation of Mental Health website.