How does it feel to be an older adult with a mental health concern in a rural community?
“You have to watch what you say, you never know how it will affect someone. When people cross the street to avoid me, I can’t stop thinking about it.
Mental health is a major health issue in Canada. With our aging population, mental health concerns are increasing in this age group. The number of adults 50 and over continue to increase, especially in rural areas, and there is little information about their experiences with mental health concerns. Our research sought to understand the experience of adults 50 and over with mental health concerns in rural areas. Princeton was chosen for our research due to its location and demographics; in Princeton, 55% of people are 50 or older, and 82% of the population qualify as low income. We looked at this age because of significant, common transitions that affect mental health (e.g., new physical health conditions, retirement). Eight participants were a part of this research study and all had a mental health concern.
To explore their experiences, participants were provided with cameras. They used these cameras to take pictures to document meaningful parts of their lives, and selected their most significant photos. These photos were then reviewed in individual interviews with the researcher. Participants met to go over major findings with the researchers and agreed with these themes. Key findings included: services and supports, how to care for wellbeing, stigma, losses, and their environment. We asked participants how they wanted to share the findings with Princeton. Participants wanted to create postcards and agreed that having a selection of photos displayed in Princeton would be a good way to share their stories.
Where: Riverside Community Centre in Princeton Date: January 30, 2019
Exhibit is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Photos will be displayed for approximately 5 weeks. We would like to invite the public to build on their understanding ofolder adults’ mental health in Princeton.
Research Team Members
Lauren Airth, Masters of Nursing Student, University of British Columbia, Okanagan
Sharon Evans, President, South Okanagan and Similkameen Mental Wellness Society
Carolyn Szostak, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Okanagan
Nelly D. Oelke, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Okanagan
Karen Fulton, Registered Nurse, Interior Health Nola Mensch, Community Member
For more information contact: Nelly D. Oelke at email@example.com or 250-807-9880 or Lauren Airth at firstname.lastname@example.org or 778 363 0862