Fast Facts About Mental Illness
Who is Affected?
- Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague
- In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness
- Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures
- Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives
- About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”)
How Common is it?
- By age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness
- Schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population
- Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment
- Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year old’s and 16% among 25-44 year old’s
- Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age
- The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women
What Causes it?
- A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses
- Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem
- Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community
- Mental illnesses can be treated effectively
What is the Economic Cost?
- The economic cost of mental illnesses in Canada for the health care system was estimated to be at least $7.9 billion in 1998 – $4.7 billion in care, and $3.2 billion in disability and early death
- An additional $6.3 billion was spent on uninsured mental health services and time off work for depression and distress that was not treated by the health care system
- In 1999, 3.8% of all admissions in general hospitals (1.5 million hospital days) were due to anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, major depression, personality disorders, eating disorders and suicidal behavior. Sources: The Report on Mental Illness in Canada, October 2002. EBIC 1998 (Health Canada 2002), Stephens et al., 2001
How Does it Impact Youth?
- It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide
- Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode
- The total number of 12-19 year old’s in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million
- Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities
- Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world
- Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide
- Schizophrenia is youth’s greatest disabler as it strikes most often in the 16 to 30 year age group, affecting an estimated one person in 100
- Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada
- In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.
Mental Health Commission of Canada (2013). Making the case for investing in mental health in Canada.