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Canadians with depression equal other chronic conditions.

OTTAWA -- As many Canadians suffer from major depression as from other leading chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or a thyroid problem, says a report recently released from the Canadian Community Health Survey.

The Canadian Community Health Survey: Mental Health and well-being 2002, includes five mental health disorders including major depression, mania disorder, panic disorder, social phobia and agoraphobia along with dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs.

According to the survey one out of every ten Canadians within the survey age group or about 2.6 million people reported symptoms consistent with alcohol or illicit drug dependence or suffered symptoms from one of the five mental health disorders at some time during the 12 months prior to their interview.

Men and women suffered almost the same rates of mental health disorders and substance dependencies, but mood and anxiety disorders were more prevalent in women while prevalence of alcohol and illicit drug dependencies were much more common in men than in women.

Even though mental health disorders were present throughout all stages of life, teenagers and young adults aged between 15 and 24 were most likely to report suffering from the five mental disorders contained in the survey and substance dependence problems.

The majority of sufferers of either mental disorders or substance dependency did not seek professional help for their problems and one out of every five person who suffered from a mental disorder or substance dependence reported a perceived unmet need in receiving help.

Although there were a number of reasons why the participants in the survey did not seek help for their disorder or dependency from either professionals or self help groups, the three most frequently reported reasons were:

* 31 per cent preferred to manage themselves;

* 19 per cent did not get around to it or did not bother; and

* 18 per cent were afraid to ask for help or they were afraid of what others would think.

The World Health Organization reports that five out of ten leading causes of disability are related to mental disorders while predicting that in less than 20 years depression will be the second leading cause of disability in the world. Health Canada estimates that mental health disorders account for the third highest source of direct health care costs at $4.7 billion in 1998.

The survey, conducted between May 2002 and December 2002, collected data from about 37,000 individuals aged 15 years and older throughout Canada with the exception of Indian Reserves, full-time members of the Canadian Armed Forces, health care institutions and remote areas.
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Title Annotation:Mental Health
Publication:Community Action
Date:Sep 22, 2003
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