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Mental Illness in Canada

Statistics on the prevalence of mental disorders and related suicides in Canada.

Mental Disorders in Alberta - Lifetime Prevalence

Mental Illness

How many people experience mental illness?

One in five adult Canadians (21.3 percent) will suffer a mental disorder in their lives This figure translates into 4.5 million people. 1 Anxiety disorders and depression are the most common. Approximately 2.5 million Canadian adults or over 10% of the population 18 and older will have a depressive disorder. (1, 4)

All disorders 21%. Percentages will not total, as many people have symptoms in more than one category. Source: Bland et al, University of Alberta

How does mental illness compare to other medical conditions?

The estimated total burden of $14.4 billion places mental health problems among the costliest in Canada.(2)

What Is the economic cost of mental illness?

The total economic cost of mental disorders both medically treated and not is nearly $14 billion annually, at a minimum. There is no telling what non-economic costs for pain and suffering should be added to this total.(2) Four of the ten leading causes of disability in developed countries are mental disorders – major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. (3)

What are the chances of recovering from mental illness?

Most people with mental illness recover well and are able to lead fulfilling lives in the community – when they receive appropriate ongoing treatment and support. However, only 43% of depressed adults seek care from a health professional. (5)

Do children suffer from mental illnesses?

Almost 20% of children and youth in Canada or roughly 1.5 million individuals suffer from a diagnosable psychiatric disorder. Two thirds of these suffered from more than one disorder and less than 20% receive therapeutic intervention. (6)

Is mental illness life-threatening?

Mental illness itself is not life-threatening. However, more than 90% of people who take their lives have a diagnosable mental disorder commonly a depressive disorder or substance abuse disorder. (11)

Suicide

In 1999 there were 449 suicide deaths in Alberta, a 7.7% increase from 1998 7. Canada-wide, suicide is the leading cause of death for all males between 10 and 49 and the fourth leading cause for women. Suicide is the leading cause of death in Alberta among males ages 10 to 49 and the third most common among males ages 10 to 65. Alberta’s suicide rate is the second highest in Canada after Quebec. (8)

The number of attempted suicides is estimated to be in the thousands and for every completed suicide there are hundreds of self inflicted injuries. Over 400,000 Canadians deliberately harm themselves every year. (9)

Four times as many men than women commit suicide however, women attempt suicide 2-3 times as often as men. (8)

The estimated cost of a suicidal death ranges from $433,000 to $4,131,000 per individual depending on potential years of life lost, income level and effects on survivors. The estimated cost of attempted suicide ranges from $33,000 to $308,000 per individual depending on the hospital services and rehabilitation and the family disruption and support required following the attempt (10) More than 90% of people who take their lives have a diagnosable mental disorder commonly a depressive disorder or substance abuse disorder. (11)

References

  1. Bland, RC, Orn H, Newman SCLifetime Prevalence of Psychiatric Disorders in Edmonton. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 1988: 77 (suppl 338): 24-32.
  2. Stephens T, Jorbert N, The Economic Burden of Mental Health Problems in Canada. Chronic Diseases in Canada 2001; 22 (1) 18-23
  3. Murray CJL, Lopez AD, eds Summary: The global burden of disease: a comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Cambrige MA: published by the Harvard School of Public Heath on behalf of the World Health Organization and the World Bank, Harvard University Press, 1996.
  4. Zoutis P, Ontario Mental Health Statistical Sourcebook Volume 1: An investigation into the Mental Health Supplement of the 1990 Ontario Health Survey Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division 1999.
  5. Diverty B, Beaudet M, Derpression an untreated disorder? Health Reports 1997; 8 (4): 9-18 (Statistics Canada Cat. No. 82-003-XPB).
  6. Offord DR, Boyle MH, Szatmari P, et al. Ontario Health Study ll: Six month prevalence of disorder and rates of service utilization. Archives of General Psychiatry, 1989, 44: 1069-1078.
  7. Alberta Vital Statistics – Year to Date Data – October 2000. Prepared by the Suicide Information and Education Centre, Calgary October 2000.
  8. Leading Causes of Death in Canada 1997 (Statistics Canada Cat No. 84F0503-XPB).
  9. Bland Newman, Dyck, 1994, Kerkhof et al. 1994 reported in National Strategies for the prevention of Suicide in Canada prepared by the Suicide Information and Education Centre for Health Canada, 1998.
  10. Miller 1995; Palmer 1995; Stoudemire 1986; and Weinstein & Saturno 1986 reported in National Strategies for the prevention of Suicide in Canada prepared by the Suicide Information and Education Centre for Health Canada, 1998.
  11. Moscicki EK, Epidemiology of Suicide , Harvard Medical School Guide to Suicide Assessment and Management (40-51) Jossey-Bass Publishers 1999.

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