Health Status of Canadians 2016: Report of the Chief Public Health Officer - How healthy are we? - Perceived mental health

How healthy are we?

Perceived mental health

In 2014, 21 million or 7 in 10 Canadians said they felt they had excellent or very good mental health (see Figure 1)Footnote 1.

Figure 1: 7 in 10 Canadians said they felt they had excellent or very good mental health.Footnote 1
Figure 1

Perceived mental health is a subjective measure of how people feet about their mental health and can be a good reflection of actual mental health. Mental health is an important aspect of overall health and well-being.Footnote 2-4

Over time

The proportion of Canadians who consider their mental health to be either very good or excellent has decreased slightly.Footnote 1

  • 73% in 2003.
  • 71% in 2014.

By income

In 2014, Canadians with the lowest household incomes were less likely than those with the highest income households to report feeling they had very good or excellent perceived mental health (see Figure 2)Footnote 5.

Figure 2: Perception of very good or excellent mental health by household income, 2014Footnote 5
Figure 2

Deciles (D) are calculated by dividing the Canadian population into ten groups of equal size (deciles) based on household income.

Text Equivalent

Bar chart showing percent of the population who report being in very good or excellent mental health by household income in 2014. These data are divided into income deciles. Deciles are calculated by dividing the Canadian population into ten groups of equal size (deciles) based on neighbourhood income.

  • Decile 1 (lowest) = 54.4%
  • Decile 2 = 63.2%
  • Decile 3 = 66.1%
  • Decile 4 = 68.2%
  • Decile 5 = 71.8%
  • Decile 6 = 71.6%
  • Decile 7 = 75.3%
  • Decile 8 = 75.8%
  • Decile 9 = 76.9%
  • Decile 10 (highest) = 79.5%

By sex

In 2014, 72% of men and 70% of women rated their mental health as very good or excellent.Footnote 1

Indigenous populations

Data on perceived mental health in Indigenous populations are not directly comparable to the data described above. Data for First Nations on-reserve measured how often people felt they were mentally balanced most or all of the time.Footnote 6

Percent of First Nations on-reserve reporting feeling mentally balanced most or all of the time, 2008/2010Footnote 6
First Nations on-reserve 75%

Data on First Nations living off reserve, Métis and Inuit measured how people perceived their mental health. In 2007-2010, Indigenous peoples were less likely to rate their mental health as excellent or very good than non-Indigenous people.Footnote 7

Percent of Canadians reporting excellent/ very good mental health, 2007-2010Footnote 7

Data presented in this table are adjusted by age. Indigenous populations tend to be younger than non-Indigenous populations which can affect the ability to compare data across groups.

First Nations off reserve 66%
Métis 67%
Inuit 65%
Non-Indigenous 75%

International comparison:

Data on perceived mental health are not collected such that they can be compared across countries.

Notes to the reader

  • To measure perceived mental health, Canadians 12 years and older were asked if they felt their health was excellent, very good, fair or poor.Footnote 1
  • Indigenous populations consist of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
  • Data on First Nations living on-reserve are from the First Nations Regional Health Survey (2008/10). Self-reported mental balance was measured based on how often people felt mentally balanced ("all of the time," "most of the time," "some of the time" or "none of the time").Footnote 8

For more information on mental health, please see:

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