World Mental Health Day – 10 Facts About Canada’s Mental Health

Today is October 10. World Mental Health Day.

In honour of a day that should mean so much to all of us, here are 10 facts about mental health and wellness here in Canada.

  1. The economic cost to Canada of mental illness and issues is approximately $51 billion dollars. About 2.8% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP)
  2. By age 40, 50% of Canadians will have, or have had, a mental illness or issue; one in five Canadians are living with a mental health issue or illness at any given time
  3. Just 7.8% of Canada’s healthcare spending goes towards mental health
  4. About half of all individuals living with mental illness or issues state that their symptoms started in childhood or adolescence
  5. In any given week, 500,000 Canadians miss work due to a mental health issue or illness
  6. Half of Canadians express that they receive fair to adequate mental health support. Not good, great, or excellent support. Fair or adequate. A lack of support for those in marginalized groups, those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and those from indigenous communities means those individuals are even less likely to get any support at all
  7. Eight percent of Canadian adults will experience major depression at some point in their lives
  8. 65% of people would not be willing to have a conversation with their boss about their mental health, fearing dismissal, a lack of understanding, or some form of retaliation by their employer
  9. 63% of managers would like to receive better training to help employees with mental health issues in the workplace, but only 43% feel that senior management or HR would be supportive of such training
  10. 70% of respondents to a joint study by Morneau Shepell and the Mental Health Commission of Canada stated that their work experience had an impact on their mental health

I am a firm believer that there is a mind-body connection. That overall wellness has to include not only physical health (getting enough rest, eating well, annual check-ups), but also mental health check-ups.

The onus is on us as patients to bring up mental health struggles to our health care professionals; but the onus is equally on those same health care professionals to as us how we’re doing.

It’s about finding the money in healthcare budgets for early interventions that work to minimize the impacts of mental health issues or illness on the individual, their families, their networks, and even their workplaces. Early intervention has proven to be highly effective.

Finally, it’s about looking out for each other. Our communities, our colleagues, our friends, families, and loved ones. By lifting the stigma surrounding mental illness, it will be easier for us all to seek help, and help each other, when we need it most.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an immediate mental health crisis where your life or theirs is in immediate danger, seek help by calling 911 or visiting the nearest emergency room.

A list of crisis hotlines across Canada.

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