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Facts about types of mental illness

Here are a few facts about the various types of mental illness:


•7.9-8.6 percent of Canadians will experience depression in their lifetime.

•Four-five percent of Canadians are depressed at any one point in time.

•Women are two times more likely than men to experience depression.

•Women are one-and-a-half times more likely than men to be hospitalized for depression.

•The age of onset for depression is adolescence.

•People under 20 years of age have the highest rate of depression symptoms.

•80 percent of people who are depressed respond well to treatment.

•90 percent of people who are depressed never seek treatment.

Bipolar disorder

•One percent of the Canadian population will experience bipolar disorder in their lifetime.

•The mortality rate, including suicide, among people with bipolar disorder is two-three times higher than the general population.

•The rates of bipolar disorder among men and women are roughly equal.

•On average, a person will see four doctors before obtaining the correct diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

•A person with bipolar disorder will spend, on average, eight years seeking help before they are successful.

Seasonal Affective

Disorder (SAD)

•15 percent of Canadians experience the “winter blues.”

•Two-three percent of Canadians have symptoms severe enough to be diagnosed with SAD.

•SAD is more common in northern countries and among women (incidence decreases with age).

Anxiety disorders

•Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in Canada.

•Nine percent of men and 16% of women are affected in any given year.

•Types of anxiety disorders and the percentage of Canadians affected:

—Generalized anxiety (1.1 percent);

—Specific phobia (6.2-8.0 percent);

—Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (data unavailable);

—Social phobia (6.7 percent);

—Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (1.8 percent); and

—Panic Disorder (0.7 percent)

Editor’s note: The above information was obtained from The Mood Disorders Society of Canada (

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