Opening Eyes, Opening Minds report released on World Mental Health Day
TORONTO, Oct. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Mental illnesses and addictions take more
of a toll on the health of Ontarians than cancer or infectious
diseases, according to a new report by the Institute for Clinical
Evaluative Sciences and Public Health Ontario - yet this burden could
be reduced with treatment, say scientists from the Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health (CAMH).
"The majority of people with mental illness or addiction aren't
receiving treatment, even though effective interventions are
available," says report co-author Dr. Paul Kurdyak, Chief of General
and Health Systems Psychiatry at CAMH, and Adjunct Scientist at ICES.
"For instance, only a small fraction of people with depression or
alcohol use disorders are accessing health services."
"If such a low percentage of people with diabetes were receiving
treatment, there would be a public outcry."
Released today, the report Opening Eyes, Opening Minds, shows that the overall burden of mental illness and addictions in
Ontario is 1.5 times higher than all cancers and seven times higher
than all infectious diseases.
"The reasons for this burden are because mental illnesses and addictions
emerge at a young age, they are highly disabling and prevalent in
society, and they can last a lifetime," says Dr. Kurdyak.
In Ontario, depression had the highest burden of all nine conditions
measured in the report. Its burden was more than the combined impact of
lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. The problem is
world-wide, with the World Health Organization drawing attention to
untreated depression a "global crisis" as its theme for World Mental
Illness Awareness Day today.
"Approximately 60 to 65 per cent of people with depression, and as many
as 90 per cent of those with alcohol use disorder, remain untreated,"
says Dr. Kurdyak. "Yet there are effective therapies available for
people suffering from these disorders."
Alcohol use disorders accounted for 88 per cent of all mental illness
and addiction-attributable deaths in Ontario and 91 per cent of years
lost due to early death.
"People don't seek care because of stigma around these disorders,
particularly for problematic alcohol use," says Dr. Jürgen Rehm,
co-author of the report and Director of CAMH's Social and
Epidemiological Research Department. "This report reinforces the need
for changes, such as strengthening the role of family physicians in
treatment, exploring effective approaches from other jurisdictions, and
reducing stigma so that people begin to ask for help."
Burden refers to the impact of an illness on reducing life expectancy
and quality of life, based on factors such as pain, functioning and
social relations, among others. Using the same methodology as earlier
reports on the burden of cancer and infectious diseases, burden was
calculated using a measure called a health-adjusted life year (HALY),
which shows the amount of healthy life lost.
Overall, the nine conditions measured in the report contributed to the
loss of more than 600,000 HALYs in Ontario. In addition to alcohol use
disorders and depression, conditions examined were bipolar disorder,
social phobia, schizophrenia, panic disorder, agoraphobia, cocaine
addiction and prescription opioid misuse. Opening Eyes, Opening Minds: The Ontario Burden of Mental Illness and Addictions Report is the most thorough evaluation of the impact of mental illness and
addictions on Ontarians to date.
"However, there is hope and it's important to remember that these
conditions are treatable. If we increase the likelihood that people
seek and get timely access to treatments, the burden for individuals
and the entire population will be reduced," says Dr. Kurdyak.
To view a copy of the Ontario Burden of Mental Illness and Addictions
Report, visit the ICES website or the PHO website at www.oahpp.ca.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest
mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the
world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental
health. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy
development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people
affected by mental health and addiction issues.
CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan
American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating
SOURCE: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
For further information:
Media Contact: Michael Torres, CAMH Public Affairs, 416 595-6015.