Skip to content
Back to navigation

Aging and Mental Health: Collaborating on Research Priorities

Aging and Mental Health: Collaborating on Research Priorities

Choosing the Mental Health Priorities That Matter to You

Our surveys are complete and we're preparing for our priority-setting workshops! Take a look at our project summary or the list of 18 questions that will be used in the workshops!

This webpage is part of the information sharing process for the Aging and Mental Health: Collaborating on Research Priorities. We will be sharing our progress and findings through each step of the process. You can read our project summary here.  

Our second national survey has closed and we are currently preparing for our virtual priority-setting workshops. The workshops will be held in the Spring of 2021. 

In preparation for our workshops, we have identified a short-list of the top 18 most selected questions from Survey 2, which you can find at the link below.   

Click here to see a copy of the 18 short-listed questions that will be discussed in a series of virtual workshops.

You can find the 25 unanswered and 17 answered questions used in Survey 1 and Survey 2 here.

What are we doing?

The SE Research Centre and The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) are working together to identify the top 10 unanswered research questions on aging and mental health that are a priority to older adults, caregivers and health and social care providers across Canada.

Our approach is informed by the James Lind Alliance Approach to Priority Setting Partnerships (James Lind Alliance, 2018). We are seeking the input of older adults, caregivers and health and social care providers in the following ways:

  • Monthly steering group meetings
  • 2 national surveys
  • A series of 4 virtual workshops

Looking at the figure below, you can see the process visualized:


Why is this important?

Age-related changes (e.g., loss of social roles, retirement, living alone, bereavement and physical and mental health conditions) can negatively impact our overall mental health—our “positive sense of well-being, or the capacity to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face” (CMHA, 2009).

While the topic of aging is a globally recognized health research priority area, there is a major gap in aging focused mental health research. To better understand the needs of the diverse and growing population of older adults in Canada, we need to learn more about the role and significance of age-related changes on mental health. 

*As significant research is already taking place across Canada on the topic of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, these topics are excluded from this survey

How can you help?

If you’re interested in getting involved or directly receiving a copy of the Top 10 unanswered research questions, please email

The Top 10 unanswered research questions relate to aging and mental health from the perspective of support, care, and treatment:

Support: information, resources and services meant to communicate to, educate, or connect people on the topic of mental health (e.g., CMHA website)

Care: services focused on protecting and promoting individual abilities and strengths of anyone experiencing poor mental health (e.g., counselling)

Treatment: medical and professional interventions to cure or alleviate symptoms of a diagnosed mental health illness (e.g., medication)

What are we doing right now?

We just finished our eleventh steering group meeting and are excited to prepare for our series of virtual workshops. We will be holding 4 workshops in the Spring of 2021 to identify the final Top 10 unanswered research questions for aging and mental health in Canada. If you would like to receive a copy of the final Top 10 questions, please email

Our process

This collaboration was originally brainstormed by the SE Research Centre and Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in 2018, with a combined vision to authentically engage older adults, family caregivers and health and social care providers in the identification of an aging-focused mental health research agenda. It is guided by a steering group composed of older adults, caregivers, and members of aging and mental health organizations from across Canada. Steering group members meet monthly to review upcoming activities and provide feedback and suggestions on how best to engage and incorporate the perspectives of all Canadians.

The priority areas that you have identified, but that have already been addressed in research will also be shared on our website and through our partners. As an attendee of the CMHA Mental Health for All conference noted - "what we don't know, but that research does, is still important!"

Additional Resources 

If you're interested in understanding more about aging and mental health, check out the following articles and websites. 

  • Advancing Mental Health Promotion in Canada - available here 

In 2019, the Canadian Mental Health Association published a report on mental health in Canada and outlined multiple suggestions for how to promote better wellbeing across the country. If you want to understand our national priorities, and mental health in general, this is an excellent introduction. 

  • Elizz: Lifestyle Destination for Daughters and Sons - website here

Elizz is a website designed to support older adults, caregivers and families. It offers articles on caregiving skills, how to stay mentally healthy, support services, and relationship advice. You can find tips for navigating the transit system as an older adult, arranging multi-generational holidays, or writing a last will and testament. It also includes the Care Channel which provides free resources for family and community caregivers. 

  • Mental Health Considerations for the Older Adult - available here 

The Seniors Health Knowledge Network focuses on sharing evidence and knowledge across disciplines, in addition to developing relationships among: practitioners, researchers, educators, policy makers, and older adults. They have a regular publication called Linkages which highlights upcoming events, opportunities and updates related to aging, health and caring for older adults. Their January 2020 newsletter includes a large list of resources, information, and research studies that may be of interest. 

  • Older adults: where to go when you're looking for help - available here

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has created a list of organizations and resources that focus on providing services to individuals 65 years and older. Some do offer services for individuals aged 55. The list is sorted by topic and covers: addictions, Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias, mental health programs, community support for seniors and caregivers, and elder abuse.

  • What older adults and their families and friends need to know about ... Depression - available here
  • What older adults and their families and friends need to know about ... Anxiety - available here

A set of resources from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) that provide information on how to recognize the signs of depression and anxiety. These short articles also provide suggestions on what older adults can do if they are experiencing these symptoms. Each has a short list of organizations or contacts that can be useful for more information. 

If you have any questions or concerns, or are interested in participating in any way, please contact We are always looking for new members and voices.