You probably know someone with a mental health or substance use problem
- 1 person in 5 in Canada (over 6 million people) will have a mental health problem during their lifetime.
- 1 in 7 Canadians aged 15 and older (about 3.5 million people) have alcohol-related problems; 1 in 20 (about 1.5 million) have cannabis-related concerns; and some have problems with cocaine, speed, ecstasy (and other hallucinogens), heroin and other illegal drugs.
- Mental health and substance use problems affect people of all ages, education and income levels, religions, cultures and types of jobs.
So it’s likely that you or a family member or friend will have a substance use or mental health problem at some time.
Why people develop mental health and substance use problems
There are many reasons why people develop mental health and substance use problems:
- Some are genetic or biological—people are born with them.
- Some come from people’s experiences—such as stressful situations in their childhood; at school or work; or in places where they lived with injustice, violence or war.
- Sometimes we simply don’t know why a problem has developed.
Regardless of why and how they develop, mental health and substance use problems are health problems—just like cancer, arthritis, diabetes and heart attacks.
So why are people with substance use and mental health problems looked upon differently?