Seminar focused on seniors’ mental health coming up

‘Mental Health First Aid for Seniors’ is slated to run Sept. 24th and 25th

Stettler & District Family and Community Support Services is soon hosting a seminar aimed at helping seniors who may be struggling with various mental health issues.

‘Mental Health First Aid for Seniors’ is slated to run Sept. 24th and 25th.

“This is about how to help take care of people with mental health problems, and it’s really focusing on seniors,” explained Andrea Lee, the community engagement coordinator at FCSS.

Topics discussed will focus on seniors who are developing a mental health problem, or who are experiencing the worsening of an existing mental health problem or who are in a mental health crisis.

“It does not train people to become counsellors or therapists, but it can help those most in contact with seniors and be able to help identify an emerging mental health problem and to respond effectively in the event of a crisis,” she said.

The seminar, which is free of charge, is a 14-hour course held over the space of two days.

“It’s being put on by Mental Health Commission of Canada though Qualified MHFA seniors instructors.

“Who should attend this? Anyone living in Alberta who is a senior, cares for or works with seniors such as health care providers, emergency room staff, spouses and partners, family members and friends, volunteers, other caring community members or staff who are serving seniors,” she explained.

Mental health issues can run the gamut from depression and anxiety to the impacts of losing one’s mobility, said Lee. “Sometimes, that’s when depression can set in because they can no longer do their regular day-to-day things by themselves,” she added.

Meanwhile, FCSS offers plenty of seniors’ supports all the year through.

“We have all of the paperwork for when you are retiring, or all the Alberta special needs benefits and things like that. We have all of the application forms, and we can help senior citizens fill out any of those”

Of course, programming through FCSS applies to many different age groups in any given community.

“We also have a registered psychologist on staff and we run a harm reduction program here as well,” said Lee, adding there is also grief and loss counselling available.

Volunteer tax services are available, too.

Suicide prevention services are also available, and the Stettler and District Crisis Aid Program, while not affiliated with FCSS, is run out of their office as well.

Lee runs that particular program, which can assist folks financially who, for example, can’t pay their utilities or have been laid off or may be experiencing a medical emergency and are on a fixed income.

In the meantime, for more information or to register for the ‘Mental Health First Aid for Seniors’ seminar, email wellness@cmha.ab.ca or call the local FCSS office at 403-742-2337.

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