A $300,000 grant awarded to CMHA Ontario will be used to teach older adults across the province the necessary skills to tackle mental health issues such as distress, anxiety and depression and enable them to change personal behaviours, including becoming more physically active and eating a healthier diet. The grant from the province’s Healthy Communities Fund supports the piloting of an eight-week Cognitive Behaviour Theory-based mental health promotion program for older adults in 15 communities. Titled Living Life to the Full, the program is a guided self-help course delivered by trained facilitators.
The funding allows for the training of 15 facilitators who will deliver a minimum of 30 Living Life to the Full programs in older adult centres and other community settings. The money also allows for the recruitment and training of 15 community-based research assistants to support an evaluation to measure participant outcomes and capture implementation best practices.
CMHA Ontario will lead the project and work in partnership with CMHA BC, the Older Adult Centres’ Association of Ontario, the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest, and the York Institute for Health Research at York University.
In the pilot phase alone, the program will reach about 450 older adults. Participants will learn new skills to help them cope with life’s challenges, improve their mood, reduce levels of depression and anxiety, strengthen social networks, and start and sustain a more active, healthy lifestyle.
In addition to providing a direct benefit to participants, this project will foster local partnerships between mental health service providers and community agencies serving seniors, resulting in more integrated systems of care.
“We would like to thank the province for its ongoing support for our organization as we strive to help people from all walks of life address mental health issues,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario. “Ongoing enhancement and availability of programs like Living Life to the Full helps our organization move a step closer to achieving our mission, which is to make mental health possible for all.”
Read more about the Healthy Communities Fund, which supports communities that plan and deliver integrated programs that improve the health of all Ontarians.