This week, May 2 to 6, 2016, marks Mental Health Week in Canada. We use this week as a means to open the discussion surrounding mental health in our country and around the world. To eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illness so that the one in 5 Canadians who struggle with mental illness can seek support without fear of stigma and shame. In a statement, Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau says, “In Canada and around the world, many suffer in silence with an illness that is invisible to others…We all have a responsibility to raise our awareness…about what mental health is and what we can do to increase our collective well-being…and promote positive mental health.”
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This week, Canadians will dress in green in support of mental health and use the social media hashtag #GETLOUD to have honest discussions about mental health. Let’s take a look at the reality of mental health in Canada, and around the world…
1. Mental Illness and Substance Use
According to Statistics Canada, an approximately 6 million Canadians suffer with substance use disorder, which includes the dependence/and or abuse of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol. At a global level, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that substance use and mental illness are the prime cause of disability.
WHO estimates that roughly 23-percent of disability cases around the world can be tracked back to substance use and dependence issues.