Mental Health Stats


Who is affected? Statistics show that one in every five Canadians will have a mental health problem at some point in their lives.

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

How common is it?

  • 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.

What causes it?

  • A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.
  • 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.
  • 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 illnesses can be treated effectively.

What is the economic cost?

  • The economic cost of mental illnesses in Canada for the health care system was estimated to be at least $7.9 billion in 1998 – $4.7 billion in care, and $3.2 billion in disability and early death.
  • An additional $6.3 billion was spent on uninsured mental health services and time off work for depression and distress that was not treated by the health care system.
  • In 1999, 3.8% of all admissions in general hospitals (1.5 million hospital days) were due to anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, major depression, personality disorders, eating disorders and suicidal behavior.

Sources: The Report on Mental Illness in Canada, October 2002. EBIC 1998 (Health Canada 2002), Stephens et al., 2001 via Canadian Mental Health Association


  • One in four adults—approximately 57.7 million Americans— experience a mental health disorder in a given year. One in 17 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder1 and about one in 10 children live with a serious mental or emotional disorder.2
  • About 2.4 million Americans, or 1.1 percent of the adult population, lives with schizophrenia.1
  • Bipolar disorder affects 5.7 million American adults, approximately 2.6 percent of the adult population per year.1
  • Major depressive disorder affects 6.7 percent of adults, or about 14.8 million American adults.1 According to the 2004 World Health Report, this is the leading cause of disability in the United States and Canada in ages between 15-44.3
  • Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder and phobias, affect about 18.7 percent of adults, an estimated 40 million individuals. Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depression or addiction disorders.1
  • An estimated 5.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.4 Of adults using homeless services, 31 percent reported having combination of these conditions.5
  • One-half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, three-quarters by age 24.6 Despite effective treatments, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first onset of symptoms and when people seek and receive treatment.
  • Fewer than one-third of adults and one-half of children with a diagnosable mental disorder receive mental health services in a given year.2
  • Racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to have access to mental health services and often receive a poorer quality of care.8
  • In the United States, the annual economic, indirect cost of mental illness is estimated to be $79 billion. Most of that amount— approximately $63 billion—reflects the loss of productivity as a result of illnesses.2
  • Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions.9 Adults living with serious mental illness die 25 years earlier than other Americans, largely due to treatable medical conditions.1
  • Suicide is the eleventh-leading cause of death in the Unites States and the third-leading cause of death for people ages 10-24 years. More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder.11
  • In July 2007, a nationwide report indicated that male veterans are twice as likely to die by suicide as compared with their civilian peers in the general United States population.12
  • Twenty-four percent of state prisoners and 21 percent of local jail prisoners have a recent history of a mental health disorder.13 Seventy percent of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental disorder with at least 20 percent experiencing signify cant functional impairment from a serious mental illness.14
  • Over 50 percent of students with a mental disorder age 14 and older drop out of high school— the highest dropout rate of any disability group.

Source : National Alliance on Mental Illness


  • 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year
  • Mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain
  • Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men
  • About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time
  • Depression affects 1 in 5 older people living in the community and 2 in 5 living in care homes
  • British men are three times as likely as British women to die by suicide
  • The UK has one of the highest rates of self harm in Europe, at 400 per 100,000 population
  • 1 in 4 British adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any one year, and one in six experiences this at any given time. – The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report (2001)
  • Mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with almost 9 percent of people meeting criteria for diagnosis. – The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report (2001)
  • Between 8-12% of the population experience depression in any year – The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report (2001)
  • One in four unemployed people has a common mental health problem – The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report (2001
  • In 2004, more than 5,500 people in the UK died by suicide
  • British men are three times as likely as British women to die by suicide. – Samaritans Information Resource Pack (2004)
  • Suicide remains the most common cause of death in men under the age of 35 – The National Service Framework For Mental Health – Five
  • Years On, Department Of Health (2005)
  • The suicide rate among people over 65 has fallen by 24% in recent years, but is still high compared to the population overall – Samaritans Information Resource Pack (2004)
  • The UK has one of the highest rates of self harm in Europe, at 400 per 100,000 population. – Self-poisoning and self-injury in adults, Clinical Medicine (2002) cited in Samaritans


How many people are affected by mental illness in Australia?

  • Mental illness is common in Australia with one in five Australians experiencing a mental illness at some stage in their lives, and many experiencing more than one mental illness at one time.

Are there differences between men and women?

  • Women are more likely than men to report anxiety and affective disorders.
  • Men are more than twice as likely as women to have substance use disorders, with alcohol disorders being three times more common than drug use disorders.
  • Men are affected by schizophrenia in slightly greater numbers; women tend to experience later onset, fewer periods of illness, and better recovery.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder is equally common in males and females.
  • Up to 90% of eating disorders occur in women.
  • Gender differences in different types of mental illness are influenced by cultural backgrounds.

Is mental illness common in young people?

  • The greatest numbers of people with a mental illness are in the 18-24 year age group.
  • 14% of Australian children and adolescents aged 4-17 years have mental health problems. This rate of mental health problems is found in all age and gender groups, although boys are slightly more likely to experience mental health problems than girls.
  • Onset of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia usually occurs in the mid to late teen years.
  • Depression is one of the most common mental health problems in young people.
  • Adolescents with mental health problems report a high rate of suicidal thoughts and other health-risk behaviour, including smoking and drug use.

Are the patterns similar for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples?

  • At present, there is no definitive national data about the incidence or prevalence of mental disorders in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. However, limited available research supports the conclusion that serious mental disorders occur in these populations, and such disorders are at least as common as in the mainstream population.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive proportionately reduced access to specialised care for mental disorders and behavioural disorders, yet their involuntary hospitalisation rate is significantly increased compared to the wider community.
  • The death rate associated with mental disorders among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males is over three times the rate for other Australian males. However, the rate is the same for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females as those in the general Australian population.
  • An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person may also see particular feelings, beliefs or hallucinations, including hearing voices, as a spiritual or personal issue rather than mental illness.

Mental Illness and Culture

  • In the Australian population, the prevalence of mental or behavioural problems among people born overseas is similar to those born in Australia. Similarly, the rates among people who speak a language other than English at home are about the same as for those who speak English at home.
  • People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds do not access mental health services as often as the mainstream populations.
  • The conceptualisation of mental illness differs from culture to culture, as the level of stigma attached to mental disorder and mental health problems. There is some evidence that people with mental illness may be more stigmatised and marginalised in some cultural groups.
  • Loss, physical illness or disability, or the onset of disorders such as dementia, which often result in a loss of competency in English, can increase the risk of depressive disorders and suicide in older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Mental Illness in Rural and Remote Communities

There is little data about the prevalence and incidence of mental illness among people who live in rural and remote Australia. The 1997 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing found no differences in the overall rates for affective disorders, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders between urban and rural areas but did note some gender differences. For males, the rate of disorder was slightly higher for those living in a capital city, while for females it was higher for those living in rural or remote areas.



  1. Constant damaging criticism can trigger inferiority complexes.It causes you to just stop trying simply because “anything you do is in no way good enough”. Many try their upmost to please their parents ;kin;teachers;friends;siblings.If you recieved damaging feedback then you would attempt harder .If you nevertheless recieved damaging feedback then you’d eventually give up; using the excuse “i can never please you so why try”. I see this kind of issue all the time in sport; work and play. I’ve been a football coach for many numerous years.

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