Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the 3rd leading cause of disease burden worldwide was depression and that depression was predicted to become the leading cause by 2030.
- In Canada, the chances of having a mental illness or a substance use disorder in your lifetime is 1 in 3 (Pearson, Janz & Ali, 2015).
- The percentage of people who die by suicide who had a diagnosable mental illness is 90% (Kirby & Keon, 2004).
- The chances of experiencing or having a mental illness by the time you reach the age of 40 is 1 in 2 (Center for Addiction & Mental Health, 2019).
- Canadians 15 years of age or older in the past 12 month period who reported symptoms consistent with either a major depressive episode, bipolar disorder, a generalized anxiety disorder, or alcohol/drug abuse was 2.8 million (Canadian Community Health Survey, 2012).
- The rate of completed suicides amongst First Nations ages 15-24 is 5 to 7 times higher than the Canadian average for the same age group (Kahn, 2008).
- First Nations people experience depression 2 times more than the national average (Khan, 2008).
Now, these are some bleak statistics. What is the point of sharing them? Awareness. Also, to bring introspection to another curve we will be facing as Canadians that we need to collectively flatten: the mental health curve.
The battle against the additional mental health consequences and current, exasperated mental health conditions due to COVID-19 is just beginning. Thankfully, we have qualified individuals and researchers who are working to combat that rise. However, you don’t need to be a doctor or have a PhD to do preventative care and upkeep of mental health. If done correctly, both result in an increase in overall mental health and well-being and less of a drain on the medical system in terms of healthcare, treatments, reactionary work, and so much more. You get the idea.
It is really easy for our own mental health rhythms to become uncoordinated when an upheaval in our lives occur. Even more so when a drastic upheaval, like COVID-19, occurs. Be gentle with yourself and with others in your life if your mental health has taken a turn. Experts are coming to a resounding consensus that we return to and stick to the basics to help make change. Take a look at the following preventative tips that can help:
Stuck at home? Out of ideas for activities? Try these!
And lastly, if you or someone you know needs additional supports outside the home, there is help. Please take a look at the following resources that are social distancing friendly and provide quality, expert help to both adults and children.
Canadian Community Health Survey. (2012). Retrieved from:
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2019). Mental illness and addictions: Facts and
statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.camh.ca/en/driving-change/the-crisis-is-real/mental-health-statistics
Khan, S. (2008). Aboriginal health: The statistical reality. Retrieved from:
Kirby, M. & Keon, W. (2004). Mental health, mental illness and addiction: Overview of
policies and programs in Canada. Retrieved from: https://mdsc.ca/docs/MDSC_ Quick_Facts_4th_Edition_EN.pdf
Pearson, C., Janz, T. & Ali, J. (2015). Mental and substance use disorders in Canada.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2018). World drug report. Retrived from: