Mental health (or well-being) is an ideal we all strive for. It is a balance of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Caring relationships, a place to call home, a supportive community, and work and leisure all contribute to mental health. However, no one’s life is perfect, so mental health also is about learning the coping skills to deal with life’s ups and downs the best we can. Mental illness is a serious disturbance in thoughts, feelings, and perceptions that is severe enough to affect day-to-day functioning. Some names for mental illnesses are: •schizophrenia—seeing, smelling, or hearing things that aren’t there, or holding firm beliefs that make no sense to anyone else but you; •depression—intense feelings of sadness and worthlessness (so bad that you have lost interest in life); •bi-polar disorder—cycles of feeling intensely happy and invincible followed by depression; •anxiety disorders—panic attacks, phobias, obsessions, or post-traumatic stress disorder; •eating disorders—anorexia (not eating) or bulimia (eating too much and then vomiting); and •borderline personality disorder—severe difficulty with relationships, placing yourself in danger, and/or making decisions that turn out to be very bad for you (most often as a result of a history of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect).< *c>A few facts •The chances of having a mental illness in your lifetime in Canada: one in five. •At any given time, the percentage of Canadians who have a mental illness: 10.4 percent; •Percentage of adolescents (aged 15-24) who report a mental illness or substance abuse problem: 18 percent; •Percentage of people who commit suicide who have a diagnosable mental illness: 90 percent; •Percentage of Canadians who experience a major depression in their lifetime: eight percent; •Percentage of Canadians who will experience bi-polar disorder in their lifetime: one percent; •Percentage of Canadians who will experience schizophrenia in their lifetime: one percent; •Percentage of Canadians who will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime: 12 percent; •Group with the highest rate of hospitalization for anxiety disorders: People 65 and over; •Percentage of Canadians affected by eating disorders in their lifetime: three percent of women and 0.3 percent of men; •Number of suicides in Canada every year: approximately 4,000; •Suicide accounts for 24 percent of all deaths among Canadians aged 15-24 and six percent of all deaths for the age group 25-44. •Age with the highest rate of depression symptoms: under 20; •Age with the highest rate of anxiety symptoms: 20-29; •Unemployment rate among people with serious mental illness: 70-90 percent; •Likelihood people with mental illness will commit violent acts: no greater than the general population; •Likelihood people with mental illness will be victims of crime: 2.5 times that of the general population; •Predictors of violent behaviour for anyone (including people with mental illness): excessive alcohol and drug use, a history of violent behaviour; •The cost of supporting someone with serious mental illness to live in the community: $34,418 per year (all costs); and •The cost of keeping someone with serious mental illness in the hospital: $170,820 per year.