June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Many people like to think that abuse does not happen in our community. We know that it may happen elsewhere, but we aren’t inclined to see it in our own neighborhoods. We need to recognize that this abuse is happening, and it’s being done to our grandparents, parents, friends and neighbours. Bringing awareness to seniors’ abuse helps us to recognize abuse when it is happening and gives us an understanding of how we can help senior victims.

What is it?

Seniors’ abuse, also known as elder abuse, can take the shape of many actions or in-actions, either done by one-self or others that jeopardizes the health or well-being of any senior. The two most common forms of senior abuse are financial and emotional. 43% of cases responded to by Edmonton’s Elder Abuse Intervention Team involved financial abuse. Other types of abuse include: physical, sexual, and neglect.

Who is being abused?

Seniors’ abuse is not limited to one gender, race, ethnicity, income or education level. Abusers are generally known by the senior, and could be a friend, neighbour or paid care provider. In a society with an aging population, this type of abuse is very real. Many senior victims rely or cohabitate with their abusers.

What help is available?

Seniors who are being abused have access to many resources in the city; including the Seniors’ Abuse Helpline (780-454-8888) or by dialing 2-1-1, Edmonton’s Community Information and Referral Line. If you are a senior experiencing abuse, if you know a senior who is being abused, or if you suspect that a senior is being abused, please use these services to help keep your loved one safe.

The public is invited to gather together and show our support for those who may be experiencing seniors’ abuse. Join the Crisis Support Centre, along with many other community agencies and Mayor Mandel at City Hall (1 Sir Winston Churchill Square) to proclaim Friday June 15, 2012 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Edmonton. The ceremony will take place from 12:15 to 1pm. More information on this event can be found on the Crisis Support Centre website or by dialing 2-1-1.

Additional crisis services can be accessed through www.CrisisSupportCentre.com
Sources: Crisis Support Centre’s Distress Line Training Manual, 2012. Government of Alberta, Facts on Elder Abuse; accessed May 30, 2012.

1 in 5 Canadians impacted by mental illness


“Mental Illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all” – Bill Clinton 

Mental illness affects all walks of life and it does not discriminate against anyone. The young and old can all be touched by some form of mental illness. Studies have shown that 1 in 5 Canadians will be personally affected by a form of mental illness while 20% of the population will be impacted by someone with a mental illness. This conveys that every family will be touched in some form or another, demonstrating that it is in everyone’s interest to bring about awareness and knowledge. 

Individuals facing a mental illness are dealing with stigmas and negative views which in turn further isolate them from the rest of society making their symptoms that much worse. Being forced to wait months to see a professional can cause additional problems. A recent report done by The Fraser Institute revealed that across the provinces, the average total wait time between the referral by a general practitioner and the time that the required elective treatment begins by psychiatric specialist increased from 16.0 weeks in 2010 to 18.8 weeks in 2011. This truly demonstrates the lack of support an individual can receive. 

In spite of this, what can be done? The Crisis Support Centre, a program of The Support Network, offers offer Walk-in Counselling services that is often a last resort, but a first step for those reaching out for help. This service provides short term, solution-focused counselling with no appointment necessary and is vitally important for those who are facing a crisis today and cannot wait 18.8 weeks. 

By educating ourselves on symptoms, effects and resources, mental illness can be dealt with by removing the negative stigmas attached to it. By increasing awareness it makes it that much easier to speak up! 

Additional crisis services can be access through www.CrisisSupportCentre.com.

Crisis Support Centre’s website may provide listing of and/or links to third party websites as a convenient information service only. Crisis Support Centre accepts no responsibility or liability for the privacy practices, content, opinions, accuracy, and administration of such other websites, nor do we monitor or endorse these websites.