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Trent University to Host Fifth Annual Seniors' Summit October 26


Mental well-being to be topic focus of discussion at this year's seniors' summit

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mental health first aid, dementia and Indigenous peoples, self-management programs, arts-based approaches to social inclusion, and improv – just a partial list of what attendees can expect at the 2017 seniors’ summit set to be hosted at Trent University in Gzowski College on October 26.

Organized by Age Friendly Peterborough and hosted by the Trent Centre for Aging & Society (TCAS), this year’s summit, titled Grey Matters: Healthy Minds for Healthy Aging, is expected to draw more than 200 people to discuss the connection between mental well-being and healthful aging.  

“Mental health is an issue that’s top of mind for many of us. It’s an issue vital to healthy aging and we need to shine as much light on it as possible,” said Dr. Mark Skinner, TCAS director. “Our approach at this year’s summit is to look at mental health from a variety of perspectives and help foster critical dialogue in each of these areas of research.” 

The summit will open with an address from Minister of Seniors Affairs Dipika Damerla, who says, “the mental well-being of older Ontarians is a priority of our Government, and we have sought to provide programs that keep seniors, active, healthy, and engaged. At the summit, I am keen to learn from attendee’s experiences and better understand what is working well and where gaps in service might exist.”

The summit’s keynote speaker, Denise Waligora, is a mental health first aid (MHFA) master trainer with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. MHFA is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just like physical first aid is provided until medical treatment can be obtained, MHFA is given until appropriate support is found or until the crisis is resolved.

Other speakers at the day-long summit include: Dr. Jonathan Bertram, family and addictions medicine physician with the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health who will speak to the pressing issue of addiction in the senior population, and actor and comedienne Linda Kash will close out the day on a positive note with a gut-busting improv session that will quite literally explore laughter as a conduit to mental well-being. 

“My organization’s vision is ‘Mental Health for All,’ which is why the focus of this year’s summit is especially important to me,” remarked Kerri Davies, one of the summit’s organizers and manager of development for the Canadian Mental Health Association, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge. “Connecting current research in this area with our community and front-line workers is incredibly valuable. With a focus on mental well-being, we hope Grey Matters will bring in the same big, lively crowd we usually attract. Mental health is an issue we can all relate to and doing so in a safe, open space like Trent University is as good as it gets.” 

About Trent University

One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.

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