There are more than 300 different types of mental health disorders – illnesses that have an impact on an individual’s thinking, mood or behaviour.
Some are temporary while others require longer-term care and treatment; all are often misunderstood and surrounded by stigma. Mental health issues — in ourselves or in others — are too often seen as personal failure rather than medically-recognized disorders.
However, statistics show that we will all be closely impacted by mental health during our lifetime; 1 in 5 Canadians will have a mental health issue at some point during his or her life — the rest will have a friend or relative with a disorder.
About mental health
- There is no single cause of mental health issues: It can be environmental, physical (genetic), psychological, or social.
- The impact of mental illness can range from mild to severe.
- Mental illness can be successfully treated.
- Mental illnesses are categorized by their most prominent symptoms (i). Some of the more common include:
- anxiety disorders like phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder
- mood disorders like depression
- psychotic disorders like schizophrenia
- eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia
- impulse control and addiction disorders like compulsive gambling or drug addictions, and
- personality disorders like paranoid personality disorder.
- Many symptoms of mental illnesses overlap, so it is rare for a diagnosis to be made based on just one. Most diagnoses are made based on a cluster of symptoms. (ii)
Who is impacted by mental health issues?
- About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14. (iii)
- Low-income Canadians are 3 to 4 times more likely than those in the highest income group to report fair to poor mental health. (iv)
- People who have been through a disaster are significantly more likely to experience mental illness; rates of mental disorder tend to double after emergencies. (iii)
- In developed countries like Canada, mental illnesses (major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder) account for four of the 10 leading causes of disability. (vi)
Many people delay or refuse to seek help for mental health issues because of the associated stigma. This stigma is changing, however: People are starting to have a better understanding not only of these disorders and the people who live with them, but also that effective treatment is only available with a proper diagnosis.
If you would like more information about mental health and how Stevenson, Waplak & Associates might be able to help, please connect with us on Twitter or call 613-967-0545.
i. WebMD. Mental Health – Types of Mental Illness. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-types-illness
ii. AllPsych Online. Psychiatric Disorders. Retrieved from http://allpsych.com/disorders/index.html
iii. World Health Organization. Fact File – 10 Facts on Mental Health. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/mental_health_facts/en/index9.html
iv. Government of Canada (2006). The Human Face of Mental Health and Mental Illness in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/human-humain06/.
v. Examining the Comparative Incidence and Costs of Physical and Mental Health-Related Disabilities in an Employed Population. Carolyn S. Dewa, Nancy Chau, and Stanley Dermer. Journal for Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Volume 52, Number 7, July 2010.
vi. Government of Canada (2002). A Report on Mental Illness in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/miic-mmac/