Mental Health Impacts Half of All Canadians

Published May 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm


Mental health is a serious issue that can affect us all.

Whether it’s first hand experience or simply knowing someone who suffers from a mental health issue, it is something that has an impact on our lives.

About half (49 per cent) of all Canadians have been impacted by mental health in some form according to a nationwide survey called The Sun Life Financial Barometer. The survey finds that 37 per cent of Canadians experienced anxiety related stress and 3 in 10 will also suffer from depression.

According to the survey, 63 per cent of all millennials aged 20-34 are the most likely to report mental health issues. This is followed by 50 per cent of Gen X with Late Boomers coming after at 41 per cent.

“The numbers speak for themselves – many Canadians say they have experienced a mental health issue in their life. To get at the heart of the issue, we need to open the lines of safe communication and work together to remove barriers,” said Jacques Goulet the President of Sun Life Financial Canada.

“Connect with your personal support network, speak with your family physician, or tap into your workplace mental health benefits – these are some of the ways to find help that’s right for you.”

When it comes to mental health in the workplace, only 28 per cent of employees that suffer from a mental health issue have told their employer about it. This is a large difference from the 56 per cent of Canadians who have told their employer about a serious physical issue.

“It’s clear that social stigma still surrounds mental health across Canada,” said Dave Jones the Senior Vice-President of Group Benefits at Sun Life Financial.

“People spend a big part of their day at work; they simply can’t put aside their mental health issues while they are on the job. Employers have the opportunity to make a difference on this national issue. Creating a safe and supportive environment and offering tools and resources that support mental health and well-being can help employees overcome these challenges.”

Many Canadians still don’t get the help they need when suffering from mental illness. The survey says 27 per cent do not speak to health professionals about what they may be dealing with. It also says 33 per cent of millennials are least likely to talk to a health professional, followed by 27 per cent of Gen X and 23 per cent boomers.

“We’re socialized to view mental illnesses differently than physical illnesses,” said Dr. Sam Mikail a Clinical Psychologist at Sun Life Financial.

“Many people struggle to describe what they are experiencing when faced with a mental health issue. It’s easier to talk about a sore back than what’s on your mind. Know that you’re not alone and don’t be afraid to ask for help; speaking with your primary care physician or healthcare professional is a good first step.”

Dr. Mikail suggests people suffering from mental illness should make time with to spend with loved ones. Exercise paired with a healthy diet can promote a healthy mind, as feeling health can greatly improve mental health.

Employees should look for a workplace’s employee assistance program and mental health support tools. These can help the experience at the workplace and can improve overall performance will working.

Most importantly asking for help when it’s needed is a must. Physicians can help with what a mental health patient might be going through and find a treatment that suits their needs. This could be anything from therapy, medication, lifestyle changes or even a combination. It depends on what’s right per person.

The Sun Life Financial Barometer is based on findings of an Ipsos poll that was conducted between October 13 and October 19 in 2017. 2,900 Canadians where selected from the Ipsos I-Say online panel. The data for Canadians surveyed was weighted to ensure each person’s regional, age, and gender composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population.

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