Mental Illness in Canada - Infographic

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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada

Published: October 2020

Mental illness is characterized by changes in an individual’s thinking, mood, or behaviour and is usually associated with significant distress or impaired functioning in social, occupational and other activitiesFootnote 1.

About 1 in 3 Canadians will be affected by a mental illness during their lifetimeFootnote 2.

Examples of mental illness: 

Mental illness can affect anyone. Some factors have been associated with mental illness, including:

Early care and seeking treatment can help individuals recover from or manage a mental illness. However, stigma and other barriers can delay people from seeking help.

According to national dataFootnote 3:

In 2016-2017:

Between 2000 and 2016:

The Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS) is supported by a pan-Canadian partnership between the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and all provinces and territories.

Learn more about mental illness:

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented changes to Canadians. PHAC will be using multiple data sources to examine the impact of COVID-19 on mental illness.


Footnote 1

American Psychiatric Association. Use of the manual. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). 2013 (Retrieved January 2020)

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Canadian Community Health Survey – Mental Health (CCHS – MH), 2012. Percentage of the household population aged 12+ living in the 10 provinces that met criteria for at least one of six mental disorders (including mood disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, and substance use disorders).

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS), August 2019. Mental illness and alcohol/drug-induced disorders (use of health services) (aged 1+); CCDSS data are based on people with a diagnosed mental illness who had contact with the health system during the data collection period, which may underestimate the total number of people diagnosed with a mental illness during a lifetime. Age-standardized rates are age-standardized to the 2011 Canadian population. Crude rates were based on randomly rounded counts to an adjacent multiple of 10.

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Health, 2020 Cat.: HP35-138/2020E-PDF | ISBN: 978-0-660-35701-0 | Pub.: 200151

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