Mental illness is experienced by 1 in 3 Canadians during their lifetime, whether it is through their family member, friend or colleague, or through personal experience. No matter education or material status, by age 40, half of the Canadian population had some form of mental illness. Various factors can cause it, from environmental to biological and genetic elements. Despite all these facts regarding mental health in Canada, one stands as a devastating true:
There is Still a High Level of Stigma and Discrimination Attached to Mental Illness.
This is a large problem on a number of levels. First of all, it is the serious barrier to diagnosis and, therefore, treatment. The fact that almost 50% of all individuals who suffered from depression or anxiety never asked a professional for help clearly proves it. Secondly, one of the most important reasons for the first is that people with mental illness experience high levels of discrimination in the community. In other words, a low level of acceptance toward mental illness in the society makes it harder to recognize and apply proper treatment. Therefore, people with mental illness suffer even more. This number is especially devastating considering the fact that mental illness can be treated efficiently.
Mental disorders are notably affecting Canadian youth. 10-20% of young people have personally experienced some form of mental disorder. As a result, suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians. It’s second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
For all these reasons, I want to remind you how mental health is extremely important for our communities, for our children, for every one of us. World Health Organization recognizes the importance of mental health and celebrates it every year on October 10th. Join us in an international celebration in accepting and working towards more positive mental health.