A recent study from Statistics Canada, entitled Mental disorders and access to mental health care, found that in 2022, more than 5-million people in Canada met the diagnostic criteria for a mood, anxiety or substance use disorder.

They found that while alcohol use disorders decreased, driven by a change among young men between 15 and 24 years of age, and while the 12-month prevalence of cannabis use disorders was stable, the prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder has doubled since 2012.

“Canadians aged 15 years and older with a generalized anxiety disorder doubled from 2012 to 2022, from 2.6 per cent to 5.2 per cent. Similar increases were seen for the 12-month prevalence of major depressive episodes, up from 4.7 per cent in 2012 to 7.6 per cent in 2022, and bipolar disorders, which went from 1.5 per cent to 2.1 per cent over the same period,” they write. “The largest 10-year increases were seen among young people, particularly young women aged 15 to 24 years, for whom the prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder tripled and that of major depressive episodes doubled.” 

They add that while some upward trends are related to COVID-19 stressors, the overall worsening of mental health among young people was observed well before 2020. The report further found that just under half of those with a mental health disorder received professional help. “Unmet needs for counselling or psychotherapy were higher than unmet needs for medication or information about mental health,” they state.