Mental health vital to overall well-being

Mental health is vital to our overall health and well-being. Having positive mental health contributes to emotional, psychological, and social well-being at all stages of life. Mental health has been significantly affected by the pandemic, with more individuals facing obstacles such as unemployment, poverty, and isolation and created new barriers for those already experiencing mental illness or substance use disorders. Stigma prevents many from seeking treatment, which can have devastating impacts on health, employment and relationships. Social isolation, poverty, and a shortage of accessible services make it difficult for people to seek the mental health support they need. In youth, positive emotional development in childhood is crucial to laying a strong foundation for mental health and emotional stability as an adult.

We know that poverty and mental health are interconnected. Seniors, individuals with disabilities, and people in the shelter system were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with less access to supports and basic necessities. Mental health declines have not recovered to pre-pandemic levels and according to Statistics Canada, Canadians experiencing poverty are three to four times more likely say that their mental health is low.

The Facts:

  • 1 in 5 people in┬áCanada will personally experience addiction, mental health problem or illness in any given year;

  • By age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness;

  • Ontarians suffer a high burden of illness from mental illness and addictions – more than one-and-a-half times that of all cancers and more than seven times that of all infectious diseases;

  • Niagara faced a 59% increase in suspected opioid overdoses last year.