Workshops provide opportunities for students

September 30, 2015

To find out what supports rural seniors need for emotional and mental health, Dr. Nuelle Novik organized workshops in a couple of Sunrise Health Region communities.

Students assist participants at one of the workshops
Students assist participants at one of the workshops

The events were held in June as part of her pilot research project, Exploring emotional and mental healthcare supports for seniors in rural Saskatchewan, in the communities of Preeceville and Ituna. They took place at the local seniors’ drop-in centres, with 70 participants registering in Preeceville and 40 in Ituna.

The pilot project looked at identifying the mental healthcare needs of seniors living in rural areas of the province. Funding for this came from CMHA (SK Division) and SHRF via an existing SPHERU research project. Additional funding for the workshops, including lunches, was provided by the Office of the President of the University of Regina, and from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Social Work.

The workshops started with a presentation from Novik called Working with Seniors to Support their Mental Health. She also presented results from their research.

As well, the Saskatchewan division of the Canadian Red Cross, which is partnering on the project, provided information to the seniors about their Friendly Visiting Program – an intervention that has come out of the initial project. Offered by Sunrise Health Region for the next three years, it matches seniors with volunteer visitors, who will connect with them regularly. The workshops included World Café discussions among participants on the data from the study.

They also provided some opportunities for students, as Novik taught a social work class on aging to students at Parkland College in Yorkton. The students helped with setting up the workshop, registration and facilitating the World Café discussions.

As for future work with the project, Novik will work with the Red Cross to evaluate the Friendly Visiting Program.


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