Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day (#BellLetsTalk), a nationwide effort focused on raising awareness and understanding about mental health issues and encouraging Canadians to talk, listen, and support each other.
Mental health issues impact all Canadians, regardless of age, gender, race or social standing. Approximately 1 in 5 Canadians will personally experience mental health problems or illnesses every year, and by age 40, nearly 50 percent of the population will have or have experienced a mental illness.
RELATED: DOWNLOAD MENTAL HEALTH INFOGRAPHIC
Mental health issues can be caused by a number of factors, including trauma, abuse, stress, loss of loved ones or employment, social disadvantages, lifestyle, and drug and alcohol misuse.
Common symptoms of mental health issues include:
- Feeling sad or down
- Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
- Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
- Extreme mood changes
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
- Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
- Detachment from reality, paranoia or hallucinations
- Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
- Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
- Problems with alcohol or drug use
- Major changes in eating habits
- Changes in sex drive
- Excessive anger, hostility, or violence
- Suicidal thinking
Youth at risk
Mental health issues are increasing in children and young adults. Today, approximately 20 percent of youth – or 1.2 million – are impacted by a mental illness or disorder, yet, only one in five receive the mental health help and support they need. Common signs your child could be struggling include:
- Changes in school performance
- Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
- Hyperactive behavior
- Frequent nightmares
- Frequent disobedience or aggression
- Frequent temper tantrums
Mental health issues are nothing to be ashamed of – it is a valid medical problem, just like any other health concern. If you or someone you know needs help, find resources here.
Improving access to help in Canada
In 2017, approximately 5.3 million Canadians reported they needed some help with their mental health, yet 1.2 million reported their needs were only partially met, while 1.1 million said their needs were not met. The most frequently reported reasons for having unmet or partially met needs related to not knowing where to get help, long wait times, shortage of mental health professionals, lack of mental health service integration in community settings, cultural and language barriers, stigma, and concerns about affordability.
Wait times are a serious problem – in 2019–2020, half of Canadians waited up to one month for ongoing counselling services in their community, while one in 10 waited more than four months. To help improve access to mental health services, the Government of Canada recently announced a $5 billion investment for a number of initiatives, including enhanced community-based services, increased access to psychotherapy, and e-mental health interventions.
How Think supports mental health services
Improving access to mental health support improves mental health outcomes – our award-winning VirtualCare platform makes it easy for mental health practitioners to safely and securely connect with patients remotely to provide quality care from anywhere.
To discover how VirtualCare can benefit your practice, book your customized demo today.