A Report on Mental Health in Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph

Friday, January 1, 2016

Executive Summary

In Canada, 1 in every 5 people is affected by mental illness in any given year. This represents an economic burden of over 50 billion dollars each year. This report aims provide both individuals and organizations in Wellington County, Dufferin County and the City of Guelph with up-to-date and relevant information about mental health in the region. Some key findings include:
Mental Health and Well-Being in WDG
  • 9 out of 10 WDG residents reported that their mental health was good, very good or excellent. Similar rates were reported for being satisfied or very satisfied with life in general.
  • 43% of WDG grade 7 and 10 students met the criteria for having high levels of positive mental health and 69% had high self-esteem. These rates were especially high in Guelph and among grade 7 students and males.
  • Social relationships and sense of belonging are important factors in promoting mental health. Family support and peer connectedness were strongly associated with positive mental health among youth.
Mental Health Concerns, Mental Illness and Self-Harm
  • 23% of WDG residents report experiencing high levels of life stress and 26% report high levels of work stress. 44% of grade 7 and 10 students reported sometimes, often or always feeling as if they had too many problems. Rates were higher among females for all three measures of stress.
  • In WDG approximately 9% of residents have a diagnosed mood disorder and 7% have a diagnosed anxiety disorder.
  • Self-harm related emergency room visits in WDG were most common among 10 to 19 year olds.
  • Rates of emergency room visits for mental health concerns among 10 to 19 year olds doubled between 2009 and 2014.
The Relationship between Physical and Mental Health
  • Residents who rated their physical health as good, very good or excellent were significantly more likely to experience favourable mental health than those who rated their physical health as fair or poor.
  • Physical activity was significantly associated with perceived mental health, youth who were active 5 or more days a week were twice as likely to experience positive mental health as those who were not.
  • Eating habits, such as fruit and vegetable consumption and eating junk food were significantly associated with mental health outcomes among youth.
  • Smoking, heavy drinking and drug use were all significantly associated with poorer health outcomes among youth.
Social Determinants of Mental Health
  • Ontarians who were employed were significantly more likely to report positive mental health than Ontario residents who were not employed.
  • Lower-income residents of WDG were significantly less likely to experience favourable mental health than those with higher incomes.
  • Neither immigration status nor national identity had a significant impact on the mental health of WDG youth.
  • Mental health in WDG is generally quite similar to mental health in Ontario overall.
  • Gender is an important determinant of mental health, with women tending to experience poorer outcomes. This trend was especially concerning among grade 10 girls.
  • Physical and mental health were strongly associated, improvements to physical health may be an effective way to also improve mental health.
  • Social disadvantage is associated with poorer mental health.