Mental health, much like one’s physical health, should never be taken for granted, but needs to be cared for, and when treatment or healing is needed, this should be sought out to ensure one’s mental health is looked after.
Mental Health Week is on all this week, with the Mayor’s Luncheon held on Tuesday, and other events through the week designed to raise awareness of the need to remove the stigma from mental health issues. Canadians need to be more open about discussing mental health issues so that it isn’t such a taboo subject in today’s society.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time, through a family member, friend or colleague, and one in every five Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
These numbers become troubling when looking at the harmful and destructive effects that mental illness issues can have in people’s lives.
For example, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age; amongst teens, suicide accounts for 24 per cent of all deaths, and 16 per cent for those aged 25 to 44 years old. In addition, men commit suicide four times as often as women.
All of this points to the fact there are serious mental health issues that need to be dealt with, and aren’t, for whatever reason. Depression is one of the causes of suicide (among other factors, of course), and the CMHA notes almost half of all those who have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about the problem.
The numbers as they relate to our youth are truly concerning, and point to a very real need to take these issues seriously. For example, it’s estimated five per cent of male youth and 12 per cent of female youth have experienced major depression, and mental disorders in youth are the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
There is a cost to our society, not only in economic terms, but in personal terms as people lose jobs, marriages break up and in loss of life; this all weighs on the community at large.
We need to be taking care of each other much better, and listening, and helping to provide professional care and services whenever they are needed, for anyone of any age or walk of life.