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What is mental illness?

Mental illnesses can take many forms, just as physical illnesses do. Mental illnesses are still feared and misunderstood by many people, but the fear will disappear as people learn more about them.  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 illness includes; depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit, Bipolar, eating and mood disorders as well as Psychosis and Schizophrenia.


Who does it affect?

Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time, through a family member, friend or colleague. One in five or 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime. This illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures.


What causes it?

A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.

Can you treat mental illness?

Mental illnesses can be treated effectively.


How common is it?

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”).


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.



Thirty per cent of disability claims are for mental illness, and  represent 70 per cent of all disability costs.


For every $1 spent on mental health, there is a $7-saving in other health costs.  The economic cost of mental illness is equivalent to 20 per cent of corporate profits in Canada.


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