Statistics on mental health

  • 1 in 5 Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.

  • About 20% of people with a mental disorder have a co-occurring substance use problem.

  • 70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence.

  • Men have higher rates of addiction than women, while women have higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders

  • More than 75% of suicides involve men, but women attempt suicide 3 to 4 times more often.

  • 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.

  • Just 50% of Canadians would tell friends or co-workers that they have a family member with a mental illness, compared to 72% who would discuss a diagnosis of cancer and 68% who would talk about a family member having diabetes.

  • Nearly half of Canadians (46%) think people use the term mental illness as an excuse for bad behaviour.

  • While the majority (58%) say they would socialize with a friend who has a mental illness, the proportion who say they would socialize with a friend who has an alcohol (32%) or drug addiction (26%) is significantly lower – suggesting that the stigma of addiction is significantly greater than that associated with mental illness.

  • The economic burden of mental illness in Canada is estimated at $51 billion per year. This includes health care costs, lost productivity, and reductions in health-related quality of life.

Definitions of mental health

Public Health Agency of Canada

  • If we say that mental health is the capacity for each of us to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face, then mental health promotion is the process of enhancing the capacity of individuals and communities to take control over their lives and improve their mental health.

    Although there have been several definitions of mental health promotion put forth by various practitioners, our Unit emphasizes the following elements:

  • By working to increase self-esteem, coping skills, social support and well-being in all individuals and communities, mental health promotion empowers people and communities to interact with their environments in ways that enhance emotional and spiritual strength. It is an approach that fosters individual resilience and promotes socially supportive environments. Mental health promotion also works to challenge discrimination against those with mental health problems. Respect for culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity is essential for promoting mental health for everyone.

Health Canada

  • Mental health is the state of your psychological and emotional well-being. It is a necessary resource for living a healthy life and a main factor in overall health. It does not mean the same thing as mental illness. However, poor mental health can lead to mental and physical illness.

Mouvement Santé mentale Québec

  • Mental health is an essential component of general health. It is a dynamic balance between the different aspects of life: social, physical, spiritual, economic, emotional and mental. It allows us to act, to develop our potential, to face the normal difficulties of life and to contribute to the community. It is influenced by the living conditions, the collective dominant values ​​as well as the values ​​specific to each person.
    It is important to specify that mental health is more than the absence of illness. In this sense, a person can live with a mental illness and have a mental well-being that could be reflected through satisfying relationships or a fulfilling job.

  • Mental health promotion refers to the process of increasing the capacity of individuals and communities to take charge of themselves and improve their mental health. It is designed to increase health strengths, resources, knowledge and assets. It is an approach that considers everyone in their entirety, regardless of their mental or physical health. The effectiveness of mental health promotion requires individual, collective and political involvement.

  • Mental health prevention aims to reduce or even eliminate, if not deal with the presence of certain factors or living conditions that undermine the mental health of individuals, causing them various suffering and disorders.

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