MLHU - Health Status Resource

Mental illness

Mental illness
Key Findings: 

A mental illness is “the reduced ability for a person to function effectively for a prolonged period of time because of: significant levels of stress; changes in thinking, mood, or behaviour; feelings of isolation, loneliness, and sadness; and the feeling of being disconnected from people and activities.”1 It is estimated that 1 in 5 Canadians will personally experience mental illness in any given year.2 Mental illness is a chronic disease of public health importance in which Ontario public health units have a mandate to reduce their burden through interventions that promote health and well-being, and help to prevent disease.3 In Middlesex-London, approximately 1 in 10 residents reported having a mood disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, mania, or dysthymia in 2015/16. The same proportion reported having an anxiety disorder such as a phobia, an obsessive-compulsive disorder, or a panic disorder in 2015/16.

While the two are linked, mental illness is not the same thing as mental health. Every person has some level of mental health all of the time (from poor to optimal mental health), whereas it is possible to be without mental illness.4 The Self-rated Health section contains data for the Middlesex-London population age 12 and older on perceived mental health and community belonging.

Mood disorders Anxiety disorders

Mood disorders

Among the Middlesex-London population age 12 years and older, 10.4% reported having a mood disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, mania, or dysthymia in 2015/16 (Figure 7.6.1). The percent was higher compared to Ontario (8.7%) and the Peer Group (10.3%), but the difference was not statistically significant.

Interpretation

Mood disorders are “conditions that cause people to feel intense, prolonged emotions that negatively affect their mental well-being, physical health, relationships, and behaviour.”5 Types of mood disorders include: major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, dysthymic disorder, and perinatal/postpartum depression.6 An estimated 2.8 millions Canadians age 12 years or older (8.9%) reported having a mood disorder in 2018.7

Mood disorders can affect people of all ages, but usually develop in teenagers or young adults.6 Risk factors for mood disorders include (but are not limited to): family history of mood disorders, use of certain medications, stress, chronic medical conditions, traumatic life events, and previous episodes of depression.6

Anxiety disorders

Among the Middlesex-London population age 12 years and older, 10.1% reported having an anxiety disorder such as a phobia, an obsessive-compulsive disorder, or a panic disorder in 2015/16 (Figure 7.6.2). The percent was lower compared to Ontario (10.8%), but the difference was not statistically significant.

Interpretation

Anxiety disorders are conditions that cause people to feel prolonged periods of intense fear or distress out of proportion to real events. They can affect a person’s behaviour, thoughts, emotions, and physical health.8 Types of anxiety disorders include: panic disorder, social phobia or social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.6

Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental health disorders; it is estimated that that 1 in 10 Canadians is affected by an anxiety disorder.8 Risk factors for anxiety disorders include (but are not limited to): family history of anxiety disorders, personal history of mood or anxiety disorder, chronic medical conditions, use of certain medications, substance use, loneliness, low education, and a history of stressful life events or trauma.6

Ontario Public Health Standard: 

Ontario Public Health Standards: Requirements for Programs, Services, and Accountability
Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol, 2018
Chronic Disease Prevention Guideline, 2018

References:

1. Public Health Agency of Canada. About Mental Illness [Internet]. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada; 2017 [cited 2019 Sep 26]. Available from: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/about-mental-illness.html

2. Canadian Mental Health Association. Fast Facts About Mental Illness [Internet]. Toronto, ON: Canadian Mental Health Association; 2019 [cited 2019 Sep 26]. Available from: https://cmha.ca/fast-facts-about-mental-illness

3. Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Ontario Public Health Standards: Requirements for Programs, Services, and Accountability [Internet]. Toronto, ON: Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2018 [cited 2019 Jul 30]. Available from: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/oph_standards/d...

4. Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario (CMHA Ontario). What Is Mental Health and Mental Illness? [Internet]. Toronto, ON: Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division; 2015 [cited 2019 Nov 11]. Available from: https://wmhp.cmhaontario.ca/workplace-mental-health-core-concepts-issues...

5. Canadian Mental Health Association. Depression and Bipolar Disorder [Internet]. Toronto, ON: Canadian Mental Health Association; 2019 [cited 2019 Sep 26]. Available from: https://cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness/bipolar-disorder

6. Public Health Agency of Canada. Report from the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System: Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Canada, 2016 [Internet]. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada, 2016 [cited. Available from: http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/publications/diseases-conditions-maladies-...

7. Statistics Canada. Table 13-10-0096-18 Mood Disorders, by Age Group [Internet]. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada; 2019 [cited 2019 Sep 26]. Available from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1310009618

8. Public Health Agency of Canada. Mental Health - Anxiety Disorders [Internet]. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada; 2009 [cited 2019 Sep 26]. Available from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-heal...

Last modified on: November 18, 2019