Awareness: Did you know?

Facts and figures

Fast facts from the 2016 Canadian National College Health Assessment:

  • 26.3% of post-secondary students reported having been diagnosed or treated by a professional for one or more mental health conditions in the last 12 months (with anxiety and depression being the most frequent).
  • 60.6% reported feeling overall more than the average level of stress during the last 12 months.
  • 59.6% reported feeling at some point like things were hopeless in the last 12 months, including 24.5% in the last two weeks.
  • 64.5% reported feeling overwhelming anxiety at some point in the last 12 months, including 28.5% in the last two weeks.
  • 44.4% reported feeling so depressed it was difficult to function at some point on the last 12 months, including 17,1% in the last two weeks.
  • 13% reported having seriously considered suicide at some point in the last 12 weeks, including 3% in the last two weeks.

More fast facts

  • “1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their life.” (Smetanin et al. (2011), prepared for the Mental Health Commission of Canada)
  • “Men have higher rates of addiction than women, while women have higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders.” (Canadian Institute of Health Research)
  • “More than 75% of suicides involve men, but women attempt suicide 3 to 4 times more often.” (Canadian Institute of Health Research)
  • “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.” (Canadian Institute of Health Research)
  • “Just 50% of Canadians would tell friends or co-workers that they have a family member with a mental illness, compared to 72% who would discuss a diagnosis of cancer and 68% who would talk about a family member having diabetes.” (Canadian Institute of Health Research)
  • “Nearly half of Canadians (46%) think people use the term mental illness as an excuse for bad behaviour.” (Canadian Institute of Health Research)
  • “While the majority (58%) say they would socialize with a friend who has a mental illness, the proportion who say they would socialize with a friend who has an alcohol (32%) or drug addiction (26%) is significantly lower – suggesting that the stigma of addiction is significantly greater than that associated with mental illness.” (Canadian Institute of Health Research)
  • “The economic burden of mental illness in Canada is estimated at $51 billion per year. This includes health care costs, lost productivity, and reductions in health-related quality of life.” (Canadian Institute of Health Research)
  • “Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague”. (Canadian Mental Health Association)
  • “Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures”. (Canadian Mental Health Association)
  • “2 in 3 people suffer in silence fearing judgment and rejection.” (Canadian Medical Association)
  • “On any given week, more than 500,000 Canadians will not go to work because of mental illness” (Mental Health Commission of Canada)
  • “Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities” (Canadian Mental Health Association)
  • “Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.” (Canadian Mental Health Association)
  • “Mood and anxiety disorders impact an estimated 22% of the Canadian population.” (Canadian Mental Health Association)
  • “Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year-olds and 16% among 25-44 year-olds” (Canadian Mental Health Association)
  • “Only 36% would discuss a mental health problem with their supervisor.” (Morneau Shepell)
  • “80% of people with depression recover and early intervention leads to higher incidence of recovery.” (National Health Institute)
  • “60% of people with mental health problems or illness won’t seek help for fear of being labeled.” (Mental Health Commission of Canada)

As the World Health Organization states it, “mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.” It is a “state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Further readings and resources

External resources

uOttawa mental health and wellness site:

  • To learn more about various mental health and substance disorders, visit our Wellness Factsheet page.
  • To find training or volunteering opportunities or to take part in events, visit our Events  page.
Back to top