Many Canadians suffer from mental health issues. In fact, one in five have suffered symptoms of depression. This is no different among older adults, where five to 10 per cent of seniors will experience a depressive disorder that is serious enough to require treatment.

Managing feelings of depression can be a real challenge. But Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacists are a new important resource to help keep us healthy and happy. Sanja Finci, a pharmacist-owner at Shoppers Drug Mart answers common questions about depression and suicide in older adults.

Q. What is depression and what are some of the symptoms?

A: Depression can affect your feelings, body and relationships and can make it hard to picture ever feeling good again. It often does not get better on its own and requires support. Some symptoms include: feeling sad, lonely or anxious, feeling guilty or having regrets, experiencing problems thinking and focusing, or changes in eating habits or weight.

Q: What are the warning signs of suicide in older adults?

A: Five common ones include:

• Having trouble sleeping and eating;

• Being isolated and withdrawn or avoiding friends, family or social supports;

• Loss of interest in things previously cared about;

• Loss of independence or feeling like a burden to others;

• Switching suddenly from deep sadness to calmness or happiness.

Q: If I think someone I know is suffering from depression or thoughts of suicide, what should I do?

A: Reaching out and showing your support for a loved one or friend who you think may be struggling can be extremely helpful. Ask direct but gentle questions, listen to how they feel and help to reassure them they are not alone. Most importantly, get advice from health experts.

You can now turn to your Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist for help. Shoppers Drug Mart, the Government of Canada and the Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health teamed up to create resources to help seniors identify symptoms of depression and connect them with treatment. These resources are available at your local Shoppers Drug Mart and can also be found at

Q. Where can you get help?

A: If you, a loved one or friend have experienced feelings of depression or are thinking about suicide, it is important to find help. Reach out to a local crisis line, call 911 or go to your local emergency department. Since many Shoppers Drug Mart locations are open late at night it means help is available when you need it.

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