The staggering rate of mental-health issues in Canada is a significant cause for concern.
The Conference Board of Canada recently released a report stating that 44 per cent of Canadians suffer from (12 per cent), or have suffered from (32 per cent), a mental-health issue. With such staggering numbers, some people may wonder if the criteria we use to define what constitutes a mental-health concern are too loose. In fact, the definition used in this report was very broad, and included “excessive stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, addictions and substance abuse, and mania, bipolar, and schizophrenia disorders, among others.” In order to determine if these criteria are too loose, it is helpful to look at how mental-health professionals diagnose mental-health concerns.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” It thus stands to reason that any psychological state where an individual is unable to recognize his or her own abilities and cannot cope with the normal stresses of life or productively work or contribute to his or her community would be a mental health concern. The WHO then broadly defines mental disorders as “some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others.” These mental-health concerns may then cause significant distress and interference in the lives of those afflicted with these difficulties.