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Mental Health Facts

  • Approximately 20% of individuals will directly experience a mental illness during their lifetime.
  • Approximately 80% of individuals will be directly affected by a mental illness in family members, friends or colleagues.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
  • The onset of most mental illnesses occurs during adolescence or young adulthood.
  • Many complex factors cause mental illness including genetic, biological, personality and environmental.
  • Mental illnesses can be effectively treated.
  • Mental illness is costly to individuals, families, the healthcare system and the community.
  • The economic cost of mental illnesses in Canada is estimated to be in excess of $50 billion.
  • The stigma attached to mental illness presents a serious barrier not only to diagnosis and treatment, but also to acceptance by society.

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders include major depression, bipolar disorder and dysthymia.

  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some point in their lives, and approximately 1% will experience bipolar disorder.
  • The onset of mood disorders usually occurs during adolescence.
  • Worldwide, major depression is the leading cause of years lived with disability.
  • Mood disorders have a major economic impact through associated healthcare costs as well as lost productivity.
  • In general hospitals, the presence of mood disorders is approximately one and a half times higher among women than men.
  • Hospitalization rates for bipolar disorder in general hospitals are increasing among women .
  • Men with mood disorders are at a high risk of suicide.
  • More about depression and bipoloar disorder


  • Schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population.
  • Onset is usually in early adulthood.
  • Schizophrenia can be treated effectively with a combination of medication, education, primary care services, hospital-based services and community support, such as housing and employment.
  • 52% of hospitalizations for schizophrenia in general hospitals are among adults 25 to 44 years if age.
  • Hospitalization rates for schizophrenia in general hospitals are increasing among young and middle-aged men.
  • More about schizophrenia

Anxiety Disorders

  • Anxiety disorders affect 12% of the population, causing mild to severe impairment.
  • For a variety of reasons, many individuals may not seek treatment for their anxiety; they may consider the symptoms mild or normal, or the symptoms themselves may interfere with help-seeking.
  • Anxiety disorders can be effectively treated in the community setting.
  • Hospitalization rates for anxiety disorders in general hospitals are twice as high among women as men.
  • The highest rates of hospitalization for anxiety disorders in general hospitals are among those aged 65 years and over.
  • More about anxiety

Personality Disorders

  • Based on US data, about 6% to 9% of the population has a personality disorder.
  • Personality disorders exist in several forms, and their influence on interpersonal functioning varies from mild to serious.
  • Onset usually occurs during adolescence or in early adulthood.
  • Of hospitalizations for people with personality disorders in general hospitals, 78% are among young adults between 15 and 44 years of age.
  • More about personality disorders

Eating Disorders

  • Approximately 3% of women will be affected by an eating disorder during their lifetime.
  • Eating disorders affect girls and women more than boys and men.
  • Factors believed to contribute to eating disorders include biological and personal factors as well as society’s promotion of a thin body image.
  • Eating disorders carry with them a high risk of other mental and physical illnesses that can lead to death.
  • Since 1987, hospitalizations for eating disorders in general hospitals have increased by 34% among young women under the age of 15 and by 29% among 12 to 24 year olds.
  • More about eating disorders

Suicidal Behaviour

  • In 2007, 3,611 Canadians died as a result of suicide; 790 of those individuals were between the ages of 10 and 29.
  • Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15 to 24 year olds and 16% among 25 to 44 year olds.
  • The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women.
  • Individuals between 15 and 44 years of age account for 73% of hospital admissions for attempted suicide.
  • Women are hospitalized in general hospitals for attempted suicide at one and a half times the rate of men.

Source: Health Canada. A Report on Mental Illnesses in Canada. Ottawa, Canada 2002

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