Considering how prevalent mental illness is, why do so few bloggers talk about it?

The aim of this blog is to write about my experience with mental illness, developments in my life as well as issues in the field of mental health all the while keeping a feminist framework.

I hope you can take something from this blog, whatever that may be.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Some Stats from the Mood Disorders Society of Canada

Mental Illness in Canada

-Chances of having a mental illness in your lifetime in Canada: One in five.
-At any given time, percentage of Canadians who have a mental illness: 10.4%
-Percentage of Canadians who experience a major depression in their lifetime: 8%
-Percentage of Canadians who will experience bi-polar disorder in their lifetime: 1%
-Percentage of Canadians who will experience schizophrenia in their lifetime: 1%
-Percentage of Canadians who will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime: 12%
-Percentage of Canadians affected by eating disorders in their lifetime: 3% of women and 0.3% of men.
-Age with the highest rate of depression symptoms: Under 20 years of age
-Age with the highest rate of anxiety symptoms: 20 – 29 years of age
-Unemployment rate among people with serious mental illness: 70 – 90%
-Likelihood people with mental illness will commit violent acts: No greater than the general population.
-Likelihood people with mental illness will be victims of crime: 2.5 times that of the general population.
-The cost of supporting someone with serious mental illness to live in the community: $34,418 per year (all costs)
-The cost of keeping someone with serious mental illness in the hospital: $170,820 per year.
-Percentage of the world’s population affected by serious mental illness: 2%
-Leading cause of years lived with disability in the world: Depression
-Fourth leading cause of disability and premature death in the world: Depression
-The group of illnesses that contributes more to the global burden of disease than all
cancers combined: Mental disorders
-Most common cause of violent death in the world: Suicide
Suicide: 49.1%
Homicide: 31.3%
War-related: 18.6%

-Percentage of Canadians who will experience depression in their lifetime: 7.9 – 8.6%
-Percentage of Canadians at any one point in time who are depressed: 4 – 5%
-Likelihood of women experiencing depression: 2 times that of men
-Age of onset for depression: Adolescence
-Percentage of people who are depressed who respond well to treatment: 80%
-Percentage of people who are depression who never seek treatment: 90%

Bipolar Disorder
-Percentage of Canadians who will experience bi-polar disorder in their lifetime: 1%
-Mortality rate, including suicide, among people with bipolar disorder: 2 – 3 times higher than the general population
-Rates of bipolar disorder among men and women: Roughly equal.
-Number of doctors a person will see, on average, before obtaining the correct diagnosis of bipolar disorder: 4
-Number of years a person with bipolar disorder will spend seeking help, on average, before they are successful: 8

Personality disorders:
-This group of mental disorders is not well studied in Canada.
-US figures report prevalence rates of 6% - 9%.
-Hospitalization rate for young Canadian women with personality disorders as opposed to young men: 3 times the rate.
Borderline (volatile interpersonal relationships and extreme impulsivity)
Antisocial (disregard for, and violation of the rights of others and the laws of society)
Histrionic (highly emotional and in need of constant attention from others)
Narcissistic (focused on self and own needs, lack of empathy for others)
Avoidant (social isolation and extreme sensitivity to opinions of others)
Dependent (submissive and clinging)
Schizoid (Detachment from others and limited range of
emotional expression)
Paranoid (distrustful, suspicious, negative interpretation of others’ intentions)
Obsessive-compulsive (ritual behaviours, preoccupation with orderliness
and cleanliness)
Schizoidal (cognitive or perceptual distortions, eccentric behaviour)


-Likelihood women will develop depression in their lifetime: Twice as likely as men.
-Percentage of women who will develop depression during pregnancy: 10%
-Percentage of women in the general population who will develop postpartum depression: 15 – 20%.
-Percentage of women with a history of depression that will experience postpartum depression: 30%
-Percentage of women who have experienced a postpartum depression who are likely to re-experience it in a subsequent pregnancy: 50%
-Percentage of women who develop postpartum psychosis (depression accompanied by delusions and disordered thinking): 0.1 – 0.2%
-Percentage of women with bi-polar disorder who develop postpartum psychosis: 50% -In the world, those most affected by violent conflict, war, disaster and displacement: 80% are women and children
-Percentage of women in the world who experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime: 20%
-The country that ranks the highest in the world for gender equality: Canada

-Percentage increase in mental illness among offenders in the last decade: More than 100%
-Training available on mental illness and addiction for front line correction staff: None
-Percentage of inmates under psychiatric treatment prior to incarceration: 14%
-Percentage of inmates who had attempted suicide in the preceding five years: Women (21%), men (14%).
-Percentage of women offenders with a substance abuse problem: 43%
-Percentage of women offenders who say alcohol or drugs played a role in their crime: 69%
-Percentage of women offenders who self-harm (cutting, burning or otherwise violating the body): 59%
-Number of federally sentenced women who have children: Two thirds
-Number of women offenders with histories of physical and/or sexual abuse: 72% of provincially sentenced women, 82% of federally sentenced women and 90% of federally sentenced Aboriginal women.
-Percentage of offenders in Calgary Remand Centre with mental illness: Women: 50% Men: 56%
-Percentage lifetime diagnosis of mental illness among Edmonton offenders: 92% and of those 87% also had a substance abuse disorder
-Percentage increase in police time spent responding to calls about the mentally ill in London Ontario: 100%

Aboriginal peoples:
-Rate of suicide among Aboriginal youth in Canada as compared to non-Aboriginal: Five to six times higher.
-Aboriginal people account for 3% of the Canadian population but represent 18% of federal inmates.
-Percentage of residential school survivors with a mental illness: 98% (BC study)
-Percentage with substance abuse problems: 26.3%
-Percentage with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: 64.2%
-Percentage who have experienced a major depression: 30.4%
-Percentage with chronic depression: 26.1%
-Likelihood of off-reserve Aboriginal people experiencing depression: 1.5 times the general population.
-Leading cause of death of Aboriginal people between the ages of 1 and 44: suicide.
Ages 10 – 19 - 38% of all deaths
Ages 20 – 44 - 23% of all deaths
-Overall suicide rate as compared to the rest of Canada: 2.1 times higher.
-Years of life lost to suicide among Aboriginal peoples: Greater than all cancers combined.
-Suicide rate among Aboriginal men aged 15 - 34: From 4 – 5 times greater than the general population
-Suicide rate among Aboriginal women aged 15 - 34: From 5 – 8 times greater than the general population.
-The most important factor in reducing suicide in Aboriginal communities: Community self-government.
-Other protective factors:
Control over land
Band-controlled schools
Community control over health services
Presence of cultural facilities
Community control over fire and police services
-Rate of suicide in Aboriginal communities where none of these factors are present: 137.5 per 100,000 (noting that the national average is 14 per 100,000)
-Rate of suicide in Aboriginal communities where all of these factors are present: Zero

-Percentage of homeless people who have had either a mental illness or a substance abuse diagnosis: 86%
-Percentage of homeless people with mental illness that also had a substance abuse problem: 75%
-Percentage that said that their illness was the reason they became homeless: 22%
-Percentage of homeless people with schizophrenia: 5.7%
-Percentage of homeless people with mood disorders: 38%
-In the year prior to being homeless: 30% had been in jail; 6% had been in a psychiatric hospital
25% had been clients of a mental health clinic; 20% had received addiction services
-Percentage of homeless people with mental illness: 30 – 35%
-Percentage of homeless women with a mental illness: 75%
-Percentage of formerly homeless people who were helped to find housing who remained in their home 9 months later: 91%

Mental Illness in the workplace

-Percentage of short term disability claims related to mental illness in Canada: 75%
-Percentage of long term disability claims related to mental illness in Canada: 79%
-Percentage increase in long term disability costs: 27%
-Fastest growing category of disability costs to Canadian employers: Depression
-Annual losses to the Canadian economy due to mental illness and substance abuse in the workplace: $33 billion
-Amount employer will save, per employee per year, for those who get treatment: from $5000 - $10,000 in average wage replacement, sick leave and prescription drug costs.
-Percentage of people with serious mental illness who are unemployed: 70 – 90%
-Percentage of people with serious mental illness who want to work: 80%
-Attitude toward people with disabilities:
Physical disability: Most comfortable
Depression: Least comfortable


-The percentage of 556 UK respondents who reported that either they or a family member had experienced stigma as a result of mental illness: 70%.
-Of those, the percentage who experienced stigma: within their own family: 56%
from friends: 52%
from their primary care physician: 44%
from other health care professionals: 32%
within their workplace: 30%
-Number of people with mental illness either turned down for a job for which they were qualified or, if employed, dismissed

From: Quick Facts on Mental Illness and Addictions in Canada, 2nd Edition, (September 2007) from the Mood Disorders Society of Canada

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