Lions Community Walk/Run For Happiness

To Support Mental Health

Facts on Mental Illness

  • Mental illness affects more than six million - or one in five - Canadians. Of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide, five are mental disorders. Close to 4,000 Canadians commit suicide each year and it is the most common cause of death for people aged 15-24. By 2020 it is estimated that depressive illnesses will become the leading cause of disease burden in developed countries like Canada.

  • Nearly 6 million, or 1 in 5 Canadians (20% of the population) today are likely to experience a diagnosable mental illness; 3% of Canadians are likely to have to live with a serious mental illness.

  • The downsizing of institutional care was not matched with a complementary upsizing of community-based services, resulting in significant gaps of service for those with severe illness and for people with moderate degrees of impairment.

  • Of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide, five are mental disorders: major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

  • By 2020 it is estimated that depressive illnesses will become the second leading cause of disease burden worldwide and the leading cause in developed countries like Canada.

  • Less than 4% of medical research funding goes to mental illness research.

  • A report published by Health Canada estimated that mental health problems cost of $14.4 billion in 1998.

  • It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder - the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.

  • The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.

  • Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada's youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world.

  • Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.

  • A poll sponsored by Kinark Child and Family Services and conducted by Leger Marketing (May 2007) found that 38% of Canadian adults said they would be embarrassed to admit that their child or teen had a mental illness, such as anxiety or depression.

  • A study conducted by the Provincial Centre of Excellence for child and Youth Mental Health at children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario found that 63% of youth indicated that embarrassment, fear, peer pressure, and/or stigma are major barriers to young people seeking help for mental health problems. (Senator Michael Kirby, Speech to Empire Club, May 2007)

  • Depression, as a disease, is getting younger. The Ontario Health Study showed 10.2 percent of boys ages 4 to 11 experienced anxiety or depression. Girls, mirroring the results of women, had higher rates of depression, at 10.7 percent at ages 4 to 11.


(Source: Kinark Child and Family Services, Canadian Mental Health Association, Mental Illness Awareness Week)

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Quick Facts on Mental Illneses