Did you know that this week is Mental Illness Awareness Week? From October 2 to 8, Canadians receive education on mental health and illness to understand these realities in our nation. In support of the week’s theme of “Spreading Awareness, Reducing Stigma”, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHC) has worked to provide the following facts on the state of mental illness in Canada. Education and awareness are key to healing!
Who is affected?
- Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
- 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
- Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and 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?
- 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-olds and 16% among 25-44-year-olds.
- 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.
If you’re suffering, please speak out and ask for help. Check out these resources provided by The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.
Written by Julia Abraszko, My Fabulous Self Campaign Ambassador