Mental Health

Mental illness indirectly impacts all Canadians, as everyone knows and loves a family member, friend or colleague who is dealing with a diagnosis.

One in five of Canadians will personally be diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetime, which translates into more than 6.5 million Canadians of which 1.2 million are in the GTA.

The onset of most mental illness occurs during adolescence and young adulthood. Mental illness is the second leading cause of human disability and premature death in Canada and on any given week, at least 500,000 employed Canadians are unable to work due to mental illness. As a result, $51 billion is the estimated cost of mental illness to the Canadian economy in terms of health care and lost productivity.

Needless to say, the impact is dramatic.

A first step in managing and dealing with mental illness is extending one’s frame of reference and base of knowledge. The following “Fast Facts” relate to common mental health related illnesses, though the list is not exhaustive.

Statistics were taken from the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Mental Health

Aboriginals (learn more…)

  • There are currently almost 1 million Aboriginal people living in Canada.
  • In 2001, approximately 13% of the Aboriginal population living ‘off-reserve’ had experienced major depressive incidents within the past year. This is 1.8 times higher than the non-aboriginal population.
  • Suicide is a big concern within this population, especially amongst the youth.
  • Suicide rates of Registered Indian Youths, age 15-24, are 8 times higher than the national rate for females and 5 times higher than the national rate for males.

Children (learn more…)

  • Almost 20% of children and youth in Canada, or roughly 1.5 million individuals, are affected by a mental illness or disorder. Approximately 200,000 of these children live in the GTA.
  • In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children, who requires mental health services, receives them.

Seniors (learn more…)

  • Currently, 13% of the population is 65 years of age or older, and by 2016 that number is expected to rise to almost 16%, representing approximately 6 million seniors in Canada.
  • This number is expected to double by 2028.
  • Currently, 20% of those aged 65 and older are living with a mental illness. It is estimated that 140,000 of these individuals live in the GTA.
  • Many mental illnesses are left untreated because they may be difficult to recognize and are often attributed to old age.

Addiction (learn more…)

  • Of the 20% of Canadians who have a mental illness, 20% will also struggle with alcohol and/or substance abuse. Roughly 240,000 of these people live in the GTA.
  • 1 in 10 Canadians 15 years of age and over report symptoms that show dependence on alcohol or illicit drugs.
  • 6.3% of Canadians are classified as “at risk” or “problem gamblers”.

ADHD (learn more…)

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are terms used to describe patterns of behavior that appear most often in school-aged children.
  • ADHD is the most common disorder diagnosed in children’s mental health.
  • Roughly 35% of all children referred to mental health clinics have from ADD or ADHD
  • Boys are diagnosed with ADHD 3 times more often than girls.
  •  25% of children with ADHD have serious learning disabilities.
  • 40% of children with ADHD have a parent with ADHD.

Bipolar Disorder (learn more…)

  • Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depression, is characterized by mood swings that range from mild to severe.  There are periods of serious depression, followed by episodes of markedly elevated or irritable moods.
  • 1% of Canadians aged 15 years and older will struggle with bipolar disorder each year. Approximately 50,000 of these individuals live in the GTA.
  • Bipolar disorder typically begins in late adolescence or early adulthood and affects men and women in the same proportion.
  • Major depression and bipolar disorder account for 15-25% of all deaths by suicide in patients with severe mood disorders.

Depression (learn more…)

  • According to the World Health Organization, depression will be the single biggest medical burden on health by 2020.
  • Approximately 8% of adult Canadians will experience a major depression at some point in their lives, representing more than 2.7 million individuals or roughly 5% of Canadians in a given year.
  • Approximately 2.5 million Canadian adults, or more than 10% of the population 18 and older, will be diagnosed with a depressive disorder. Approximately 500,000 of these individuals live in the GTA.
  • Of those who develop depression, only about 20% will receive adequate treatment.

Depression in Women

  • 1 in 5 women can expect to develop clinical depression at some point in their life.  Only 1 in 3 will seek professional help.
  • Women are twice as likely to have major depression than men.
  • Women who have depression are more likely to have other mental health problems simultaneously such as; anxiety disorders, panic attacks, eating disorders and personality disorders.

Depression in Children

  • More than 250,000 youth and young adults between 15-24 suffer from major depression in Canada with more than 60,000 living in the GTA.
  • During childhood, boys and girls experience depression at roughly the same rate.
  • Girls entering puberty are twice as likely as boys to experience depression.
  • Children with depression are more likely to have a family history of depression.

Depression in Seniors

  • Depression occurs in approximately 15% of seniors over the age of 65 with more than 100,000 living in the GTA.
  • Only about 10% seek professional help.

Eating Disorders (learn more…)

  • Approximately 3% of women will be affected by an eating disorder in their lifetime; however 1 in 4 teenage girls may struggle from the symptoms of an eating disorder.
  • Over 500,000 women will be affected by an eating disorder in their lifetime in Canada with approximately 90,000 of these individuals living in the GTA.
  • Eating disorders carry a high risk of other mental and physical illnesses.
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, with 10% to 20% eventually dying from complication.

Learning Disabilities (Learn more…)

  • 1 in 10 Canadians has a learning disability, representing approximately 3.4 million Canadians, and 600,000 in the GTA.
  • People with learning disabilities are twice as likely to drop out of high school.
  • Nearly 1 out of 3 parents who have children with a learning disability cannot afford the learning supports their children require to succeed academically (e.g. tutoring).
  • People with learning disabilities are 2 to 3 times more likely to report high levels of distress, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and visits to a mental health professional and poorer overall mental and physical health compared to the general population.

Statistics were taken from the Canadian Coalition For Seniors’ Mental Health, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario, PACFOLD, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Stats Canada

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