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Report outlines case for investing in mental health in Canada

Making the Case for Investing in Mental Health presents a striking picture of the substantial health care and productivity costs governments and the private sector will incur over the next thirty years due to mental illnesses, estimated to add up to more than $2.5 trillion by 2041.

The study also confirms that more than 6.7 million people in Canada are living with a mental health problem or illness today. By comparison, 2.2 million people in Canada have type 2 diabetes and 1.4 million are living with heart disease.

The study shows that the impact of mental health problems and illnesses is especially felt in workplaces and among young working aged people. While on average 1 in 5 people in Canada experience a mental illness in any given year, rates first peak during the early working years with more than 28% of people aged 20-29 affected. At the age of 40, nearly 50% of people in Canada will have had an experience with a mental health problem or illness.

The study suggests that we can reduce the costs associated with mental illnesses by investing more effectively in proven programs. The study looked at a range of strategies. For example, "If we could reduce by 10% the number of people who experience a mental illness in a given year, especially in young people, we could expect after ten years an estimated annual savings of $4 billion in direct health and social care costs"explains MHCC Chair David Goldbloom, MD.