About the Fountain of Health

What is the Fountain of Health?

The Fountain of Health Initiative for Optimal Aging is one of the first educational initiatives of its kind in the world. The Fountain of Health (FoH) translates current science of healthy aging, wellbeing and resilience, and offers practical tools to improve health outcomes over the lifespan-- for use by the public and by clinicians.

Our Mission: The FoH aims to help people become aware of the need to prepare for long and healthy lifespans. The Fountain of Health (FoH) is offering leadership of a national movement for optimal aging by:

  •  Raising public awareness about the science of healthy aging, and practical steps that promote resilience, emotional wellbeing and health over the lifespan. 
  • Developing clinical tools for health professionals to use with patients to promote changes in outlook and health behaviours. See Clinicians' Corner.
  • Providing a Speakers’ Bureau of national experts on topics of resilience, emotional well-being and healthy aging. See Speakers’ Bureau.
  • Contributing to international research through the World Aging and Brain Health Institute, fostering collaborative research in optimal aging and brain health. See Our People.
  • Providing international leadership in Positive Psychiatry through the World Psychiatric Association.


Is the Fountain of Health for You?

The Fountain of Health is for everyone-- including you! The Fountain of Health Initiative targets the general public, and especially those at increased risk of health issues with aging. If you are 50 and older, it is crucial to know that current science shows outlook and lifestyle patterns in mid-life can determine how successfully you age!  For a healthier future, go to the main page to watch the FoH video, Take the FoH Quiz to find out where you are starting from, then visit the Optimal Aging section to set a small goal. 

The FoH also aims to engage health care providers in evidence based health promotion. FoH provides practical clinician tools to assist patients to set and meet health goals, for use in the busy office practice. Please visit Clinicians’ Corner for more information.


Our History

The FoH was founded in 2010 by the Geriatric Psychiatry Program at Dalhousie University in the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Led by Dr. Keri-Leigh Cassidy, Associate Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry and Clinical Academic Director of Dalhousie Geriatric Psychiatry, the FoH is a non-profit organization based in Nova Scotia, with multiple provincial, national and international partners. See our Provincial Team, National Team and Our Partners.

The Fountain of Health is a pioneer initiative in Canada of a new branch in medicine called “Positive Psychiatry” – positive psychiatry of aging is dedicated to the science and practice of enhancing positive psychosocial health and wellbeing over the lifespan. Positive Psychiatry  of Aging strives to understand and assess the underlying biological underpinnings of positive psychosocial characteristics in late life, and to develop psychosocial/ behavioral and biological interventions to enhance mental health and wellbeing with age.

While Nova Scotia is already famous for having the highest ocean tides in the world (see photo below), the province is also now leading Canada’s “rising tide” of population aging having the “oldest” provincial population in Canada (17.5% over 65 years in 2016). Dalhousie University is home to world-class researchers in geriatrics, resilience, successful aging and psychotherapy, and the Nova Scotia Health Authority is a world leader in progressive health promotion and innovative care delivery. Given this, Nova Scotia is an appropriate place to offer leadership in optimal aging in Canada.

Nova Scotia: Highest Tides in the World


The Fountain of Health Initiative has evolved in phases over the past five years:

Phase 1
2010 to 2012

Initiated by Geriatric Psychiatry Department at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, and funded by the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, Phase 1 brought together thirteen different provincial organizations serving seniors, around the topic of seniors mental health promotion. These organizations agreed to collaborate together in the shared goal of increasing public awareness about the new science of optimal aging.

Phase 2

Lead by Caregivers Nova Scotia and Geriatric Psychiatry at Dalhousie, and funded by Department of Health and Wellness and the Department of Seniors,in Phase II academic, non-profit and government organizations worked together to:develop five, evidence-based mental health related messages; create an advisory board comprised largely of older adults to vet the information, and disseminate through a webpage shared by the collaborating organizations. Disseminated messages via traditional and new media and evaluated progress.

Phase 3

The project expanded to have a national focus, adding collaborators including the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Canadian Coalition of Seniors Mental Health, and internally reorganized with terms of reference for a Core Working Group and Advisory Board. Educational material for clinicians and patients were developed and disseminated in Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Phase 4

With funding from the Department of Seniors and a New Horizon’s grant, two pilot projects were implemented: 1) Family Physician engagement project and 2) Senior Peer Leader project. The FoH website was revised, an educational video developed and materials were disseminated and shared nationally, and internationally. The Association for Positive Psychiatry of Canada, a FoH partner organization, was founded in 2015.

Phase 5

In 2016, FoH is being presented on the national stage, highlighted at the 25th anniversary Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry Annual Scientific Meeting. A National Leadership Team is established to direct the national roll out of the FoH.  The World Aging and Brain Health Institute was founded to synergize research in FoH topics, and hosted the first International Think Tank on Optimal Aging. The Positive Psychiatry Section of the World Psychiatric Association was established, with a Newsletter hosted by FoH

Phase 6

With a competitive grant from the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation FoH is disseminating clinician tools in front line care in the Nova Scotia Health Authority. The FoH is also scaling up the Senior Peer Leader project in collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association through a grant from the NS Department of Seniors.