Approximately 18.3 percent of the American adults, or nearly one out of five, were affected by any mental illness (AMI) in 2016, says the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Going by the NIMH stats, the United States appears to be a country badly affected by various mental health issues. However, if a recent survey is to be believed, the neighboring Canada is more severely affected by mental health problems.
The survey by Canadian insurance behemoth Sun Life Financial found that the problem lies deeper in the country with around half of its people having experienced one or the other mental health issue in their lives. It found anxiety disorders more debilitating than any other mental illness, as almost 37 percent Canadians had suffered from it in their lifetime. Depression was the second most crippling disorder with nearly 30 percent people having dealt with it.
Sun Life Financial conducts the national survey every year, asking people about their mental health experiences. From work-related stress to severe conditions like schizophrenia, people in Canada go through various mental health conditions at different stages of their lives. The survey revealed that mental health concerns are reported by approximately 63 percent of the millennials in the age group of 20 to 34. They were followed by Generation X (50 percent) and late boomers (41 percent).
Stigma complicates mental issues
Just like the U.S., mental health stigma is no less of a concern in Canada, be it workplaces or communities. The survey found that around 28 percent of the working Canadians affected by a mental health issue had spoken about their trouble to their employer. This was much less than the 56 percent of the population that shared about its serious physical health issue with the employers.
Ironically, seeking professional help is also not common in Canada, as it was found that around 27 percent of those dealing with mental illnesses did not seek help from a mental health professional. Millennials, followed by Generation X and pre-boomers, were least likely to talk about their mental health concern to a professional.
However, that doesn’t make Canada unique, as refraining from seeking professional help seems to be global trend. These numbers are quite concerning in the U.S. as well. As per the NIMH, of the total 44.7 million adults with AMI, around 19.2 million received mental health treatment in 2015. While the reasons can be many – lack of proper facilities, absence of trained professionals, lack of awareness, etc. – mental health stigma remains the biggest demotivator.
Seeking professional help is important
It is important to fight the stigma attached to mental disorders, so that patients feel free to talk about their mental health issues and seek help. Staying positive, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are some other proven ways to lead a healthy life. Proper diagnosis and right treatment can help cure most of the mental disorders. Even for diseases like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, for which there is no known cure yet, right treatment approach can help deal with the conditions effectively.
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