Survey finds one in 10 had mental or substance abuse problems in 2012: StatsCan

TORONTO – One in 10 Canadians reported symptoms consistent with several mental health or substance use disorders in the previous 12 months, a new report from Statistics Canada says.

And one in three people met the criteria for one or more of the disorders at some point in their life, the report reveals.

The six disorders measured by the survey were: major depressive episode, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and abuse of or dependence on alcohol, cannabis or other drugs.

The data, drawn from the Canadian Community Health Survey, found that 4.4 per cent of Canadians 15 and older met the criteria for a substance abuse disorder in the 12 months prior to the survey.

And 3.2 per cent of the population had a profile consistent with alcohol abuse or dependence in the 12 months before the survey was taken.

Over the course of a lifetime, six million or 21.6 per cent of Canadians met the criteria for a substance abuse disorder.

The survey is the first to capture a national rate of cannabis abuse or dependence, putting that at 6.8 per cent over a lifetime. The portion of Canadians who reported abuse or dependence of other drugs in their lifetime was four per cent.

The survey found that symptoms consistent with a mood disorder were cited by 5.4 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older, with a major depressive episode being the most common problem.

Women were more likely to report depression and men were more likely to report substance abuse, the survey showed.

For both sexes, rates of depression in the year prior to the survey were highest among people aged 15 to 24 and lowest among people 65 and older.

The agency also says that in 2012, 17 per cent of Canadians over 15, or about 4.9 million people, perceived themselves as having had a need for mental health care in the previous 12 months. The major service they cited as needing was counselling.

Of these, two-thirds said their needs were met, 12 per cent said they didn’t get help and 21 per cent said they received some care, but perceived a need for more.

Needs for medication were most frequently met, with 91 per cent reporting that perceived need had been filled. And seven out of 10 who said they needed information reported they got it.

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