Study shows Suicide Weighs Heavily on the Minds of Canadians

More than 7 million of all Canadians have considered suicide

TORONTO, April 28 /CNW/ - On the eve of Children's Mental Health Week (May 2 to 8), Kinark Child and Family Services, a not-for-profit child and youth mental health organization in Ontario that provides expert help to children, youth and their families, released the results of a nation-wide poll that found that one in five Canadians has contemplated or attempted suicide. The online survey was conducted between April 12 and 14, 2010 with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults. The results are accurate to within +/- 3.1 percent at the 95% confidence level.

"At 22% this represents a significant portion of the Canadian population," says Kinark Executive Director Peter Moore. "Suicide is the leading cause of non-accidental death among 10 to 19 year olds; and we know that mental illness is the strongest risk factor for youth suicide. Until Canadians get over their long standing fear and misunderstanding of mental health, this tragic statistic will continue to climb."

Coincidently, one in five children and youth across the country struggles with mental health issues. According to Dr. Richard Meen, Clinical Director, "mental health issues, left untreated, can become very serious and often lead to thoughts of suicide. People must understand these same issues can often be treated or even prevented. It's important for parents to know that treatment and services are available right across the country."

While the poll reveals that most Canadians strongly believe that mental health is as important as physical health, stigma and other significant barriers to getting help still exist. The emphasis on our physical well-being far outweighs the support provided to Canadians struggling with mental illness. The recently released Ontario provincial budget provided $42 billion to the health portfolio while community mental health for children and youth received $502 million - .01% by comparison. Children diagnosed with broken bones or juvenile diabetes receive same-day treatment while a child with bi-polar disorder will wait weeks and months to get the treatment they need and deserve.

    
    Key Statistics on Children's Mental Health

    -   One in five Ontario youth struggles with mental health issues
        (Children's Mental Health Ontario);
    -   Young people with mental health disorders are at greater risk for
        dropping out of school, ending up in jail and of not being fully
        functional members of society in adulthood (UNICEF, "Adolescence: A
        time that matters", 2002);
    -   Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 19 year olds
        (24 per cent of all deaths). The leading cause of death among this
        group is accidents (Statistics Canada, "Canada Yearbook 1999");
    -   Depression is affecting younger and younger people - adolescents and
        teenagers (Lane R.E. (2000) "The Loss of Happiness in Market
        Democracies". Yale University Press); and
    -   Prevention programs and intervention services work (Children's Mental
        Health Ontario).
    

"It's time to talk about child and youth mental health to prevent the drastic outcomes of suicide. As a society we need to recognize that this staggering number, equivalent to the combined populations of Toronto and Vancouver, needs to change," adds Moore. "We hope that during Children's Mental Health Week from May 2 to 8 parents, teachers, government agencies and the kids themselves make some time to talk about how we can better support children and youth suffering from mental illness."

Kinark Child and Family Services

Kinark is a not-for-profit children's mental health organization in Ontario that provides expert help to children and youth, their families and communities. Kinark provides everything from parenting advice to help for children and youth with chronic and multiple mental health issues. In addition, Kinark provides intensive treatment and support to youth in conflict with the law as well as a range of programs for children and youth diagnosed with autism. Made up of 800 highly trained professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, and child and youth workers, Kinark's goal is to help children, youth and their families move forward in life.

SOURCE Kinark Child and Family Services

For further information: For further information: or to book an interview with Kinark, please contact: Tracy Folkes Hanson, Kinark Child and Family Services, Tracy.folkeshanson@kinark.on.ca, (905) 944-7077

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Kinark Child and Family Services

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