Mental Health 101

The prevalence of mental health problems

So, how common are mental health problems? Chances are that you, or someone you know, has been impacted by a mental health problem.


In 2017, the number of Canadians who were considered high risk for developing mental health problems increased from 33 per cent to 41 per cent over a two-year period. This number is based on the responses to self-reported questions about stress, depression and suicidal thoughts (Ipsos, 2017).

In any given year, one in five Canadians (20 per cent) experiences a mental health problem (Smetanin et al., 2011).

By the time Canadians reach age 40, one in two have experienced a mental health problem (Smetanin et al., 2011).

Annually, around five million Canadians (about one in seven people, or 14 per cent) use health services for mental health problems (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2015b).

Of the 4,000 Canadians who die every year because of suicide, most were facing mental health problems (Statistics Canada, 2011).

First Nations youth die by suicide about five to six times more often than other youth in Canada. Additionally, the suicide rates for Inuit are among the highest in the world at 11 times the national average. For young Inuit men, the rates are 28 times higher (Health Canada, 2017).

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