Quick Facts on Mental Illness
Mental illness affects more than six million – or one in five – Canadians. Of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide, five are mental disorders. Close to 4,000 Canadians commit suicide each year and it is the most common cause of death for people aged 15 – 24. By 2020 it is estimated that depressive illnesses will become the leading cause of disease burden in developed countries like Canada.
Nearly 6 million, or 1 in 5 Canadians (20% of the population) today are likely to experience a diagnosable mental illness; 3% of Canadians are likely to have to live with a serious mental illness.
About 4,000 Canadians commit suicide each year and it is the most common cause of death for people aged 15–24. Mental illness is a factor in most suicides.
Some communities in rural and remote areas of Canada have rates of suicide and addiction that are among the highest worldwide; many of these are Aboriginal and Inuit communities.
The downsizing of institutional care was not matched with a complementary upsizing of community-based services, resulting in significant gaps of service for those with severe illness and for people with moderate degrees of impairment.
A Canadian study found that two-thirds of homeless people using urban shelters suffered from some form of mental illness.
Of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide, five are mental disorders: major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.
By 2020 it is estimated that depressive illnesses will become the second leading cause of disease burden worldwide and the leading cause in developed countries like Canada.
Less than 4% of medical research funding goes to mental illness research.
The Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health has evaluated the impact of depressive disorders on business productivity. It estimates that economic costs of mental illness are the equivalent of 14% of corporate Canada’s net operating profits.
A report published by Health Canada estimated that mental health problems cost of $14.4 billion in 1998.
Many Canadians do not recognize that they are ill while others don’t seek help because of misconceptions about these diseases. Taking the time to learn about mental illness could make all the difference to you or to someone you care about. It’s important to watch for warning signs of mental illness – and to seek medical advice as soon as possible if any become apparent. Symptoms include:
- Marked personality change
- Inability to cope with problems and daily activities
- Strange ideas or delusions
- Excessive anxiety
- Prolonged feelings of sadness
- Marked changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Thinking or talking about suicide
- Extreme highs and lows
- Abuse of alcohol or drugs
- Excessive anger, hostility
- Violent behaviour
- Irrational fears
Read more facts about mental illness and addiction in Canada: