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CMHA’s 62nd Annual Mental Health Week will run Monday, May 6 to Sunday, May 12, 2013 and will focus on youth mental health

And this year we’re doing things a little differently!

While CMHA’s tagline, Mental Health for All, will continue to be used as an important overarching theme during Mental Health Week (MHW), the focus for this year’s MHW is: youth mental health (defined as ages 15 to 24 (approx.) and, as such, includes both high school and university/college students). Included in this youth theme will be parents/ caregivers as they continue to play a key role in the lives of youth and provide critical support.

How mental illness is impacting Canadian youth

These facts say it all:

  • It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
  • Up to 70 per cent of young adults living with mental health problems report that the symptoms started in childhood.1
  • Children who have mental health problems are more likely to become adolescents and then adults with mental health problems and illnesses.2
  • Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode.
  • The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
  • Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world.
  • Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
  • Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
  • In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.

CMHA has a new approach that will take MHW from awareness to action. During MHW people from all walks of life are encouraged to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health and mental illness. And CMHA’s new approach will result in a greater and more sustained impact in helping to shift people’s perceptions and behaviours related to mental health and mental illness.

Check out in April for more information on MHW, including a listing of MHW events in your community and more information and downloadable resources on youth and general mental health.

1 Canada. (2006). The human face of mental health and mental illness in Canada. Retrieved from

2 Smetanin, P., Stiff, D., Briante, C., Adair, C., Ahmad, S., & Khan, M. (2011). The life and economic impact of major mental illnesses in Canada: 2011 to 2041. RiskAnalytica, on behalf of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.