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Common Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues plague millions of Canadians. It is not uncommon for someone to feel depressed or anxious and let these feelings remain untreated. Mental illness that is not treated can lead to addiction and in some cases, even suicide.

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illness refers to a wide range of mood, mind and concurrent disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder. If you or someone you love experiences severe disturbances in thoughts, feelings and perceptions that are affecting your/their every day functioning, you/they could be suffering from mental illness.

What Mental Health Issues Affect Canadians?

Many Canadians are plagued by mental health problems. The most common mental health issues in our country are:

  • Depression
    Feelings of sadness and worthlessness that are so intense that they lead someone to lose interest in life itself

  • Bipolar disorder
    A cyclical illness that is marked by the individual experiencing periods of mania that can last for days, followed by periods of severe depression

  • Anxiety disorders
    Experiencing panic attacks, intense phobias, or obsessive compulsions that could lead to severe depression

  • PTSD
    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders occur after an individual witnesses a life-threatening or disturbing event such as military combat or assault

  • Schizophrenia
    When someone sees, hears or smells things that are not there and believes in principles that are only sensible to them

  • Eating disorders
    Not eating (anorexia), binging and purging (bulimia), overeating then overcompensating with exercise (exercise bulimia), overeating during one sitting (binge eating)

  • Borderline personality disorder
    Someone who has difficulty being in relationships with others, constantly places themselves in harm’s way and has trouble interacting with people in everyday settings

  • OCD
    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is when an individual is so anxious that they are convinced that certain actions, rituals and behaviours will stop bad things from happening, leading them to be obsessively compelled to repeat these actions

What Are Concurrent Disorders?

Concurrent disorders refer to the underlying mental health conditions that are involved with substance abuse. These disorders can range from depression to schizophrenia and other mental health problems.

Canadian Mental Health by the Numbers:

  • Yearly, 1 in 5 Canadians experience mental health or addiction issues
  • 70% of mental health problems make their first appearance during childhood or adolescence
  • Women have higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders than men
  • People aged 15-24 are more likely to suffer from mental illness than any other age group
  • Those plagued by mental illness are twice as likely to develop a substance abuse problem than those who are not mentally ill
  • 20% of people with mental illness suffer from co-occurring substance abuse issues
  • Between 23-67% of homeless people in Canada are likely to be mentally ill
  • The leading cause of disability in Canada is mental illness
  • More than 75% of suicides are undertaken by men, however, women are more likely to attempt suicide 3-4 times more after failed attempts
  • Almost 4,000 Canadians take their own life each year, which averages out to more than 10 suicides daily; making it the second leading cause of death in the country after accidents

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