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Survey: Over Half Of Canadians Consider Anxiety And Depression “Epidemic”

Toronto (CNW) – Over half of Canadians (53%) consider anxiety and depression to be ‘epidemic’ in Canada, with that perception spiking among younger people, according to a new survey commissioned by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). Fifty-nine per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds consider anxiety and depression to be ‘epidemic’ in Canada, followed closely by addiction (56%) and ahead of physical illnesses such as cancer (50%), heart disease and stroke (34%), diabetes (31%) and HIV/AIDS (13%). The survey accompanies a national CMHA policy paper, Mental Health in the Balance: Ending the Health Care Disparity in Canada, released today, which calls for new legislation to address unmet mental health needs and bring mental health care into balance with physical health care.

“Our universal health-care system is a point of pride for Canadians,” says Dr. Patrick Smith, national CEO, CMHA. “But the reality is, we don’t have a universal health-care system, but a universal medical system that doesn’t guarantee access to some of the most basic mental health services and supports.”

Eighty-five per cent of Canadians say mental health services are among the most underfunded services in our health-care system—and the majority agree (86%) that the Government of Canada should fund mental health at the same level as physical health.

Up to 80 per cent of Canadians rely on their family physicians to meet their mental health care needs, but those services are limited. Evidence-based health care provided by addiction counselors, psychologists, social workers and specialized peer support workers is the foundation of the mental health response in other G7 countries, but these services are not guaranteed through our public system.

Consequently, Canadians spend almost a billion dollars ($950 million) on counselling services each year—30 per cent of it out of pocket.

To download the Summary Report of Mental Health in the Balance, Ending the Health Care Disparity in Canada, or the 24-page Full Report, visit www.cmha.ca.

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