Mental health is one of the most fundamental aspects of individuals, communities and countries overall well being that should be taken into serious consideration. Mental health is basically defined as the capacity of every individual to feel, think, and act in ways that improve his or her own ability to enjoy life and deal with obstacles and challenges that we face (Government of Canada, 2012). It is further defined as a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity (Government of Canada, 2012). Mental health seems to be a very prominent issue worldwide as a result of its common disorder known as mental illness.
Mental illness is simply defined as any change in thinking, mood or behavior associated with distress and impaired functioning over a significant period of time, at least three weeks (CAMH, 2008). Studies have shown that mental illness takes many forms such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia, addictions and substance dependence which vary from mild to severe depending on the type of mental illness, the individual, the family and the socioeconomic environment (Government of Canada, 2012).Vast majority of research conducted both in Canada and the United States has estimated the prevalence of mental illness in North America. According to the Canadian research, it was reported that 1 out of every 10 Canadians aged 15 and over, or about 2.7 million people, reported symptoms consistent with a mood or anxiety disorder, or alcohol or illicit drug dependence(Stats. Canada, 2013). This reported prevalence is definitely a serious problem that affects each and every one of us in various aspects of life thus, deemed a serious growing public health concern in Canadian society. The main purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of poor mental health (mental illness) on individuals (genders and age), families, and Canadian economy.
Differences in gender reflect the biological differences between men and women in terms of expressing certain health problems particularly mental illness. Evidence have shown that women are 1.5 times more likely than men to meet the criteria for a mood or anxiety disorder, while men were 2.6 times more likely than women to meet the criteria for substance dependence due to the fact that majority of men focus on physical symptoms and disregard an underlying mental illness or they may use drugs and alcohol to cope with anxiety or depression (CAMH, 2008).
Empirical evidence has also attest that mental illness leads to the development of some chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, diabetes, cancer and HIV/AIDS which is prominent among Canadian seniors (Smetanin, Briante, Adair, Ahmad, Khan, 2011). Similarly, it has been reported that suicide is also a major risk factor for individual with mental illness. Suicides...