May 16th, 2018

// Half of Canadians have experienced a mental health issue

Half of Canadians have experienced a mental health issue

Millennials most likely to report anxiety and depression

TORONTO, May 16, 2018 /CNW/ - Whether or not you have experienced it first-hand, mental illness has touched someone you know. It's an invisible illness that impacts the lives of half (49%) of all Canadians. More than one-third (37%) have suffered from anxiety; and 3 out of 10 (30%) report having dealt with depression. These numbers are part of Sun Life Financial's recent national survey that asked Canadians about their experiences with mental health.

From work-related stress to living with schizophrenia, mental illness crosses all boundaries and touches people at every stage of life. Millennials, ages 20 to 34, are most likely to report mental health concerns (63%), followed by Generation X (50%) and Late Boomers (41%).

"The numbers speak for themselves – many Canadians say they have experienced a mental health issue in their life. To get at the heart of the issue, we need to open the lines of safe communication and work together to remove barriers," said Jacques Goulet, President, Sun Life Financial Canada. "Connect with your personal support network, speak with your family physician, or tap into your workplace mental health benefits – these are some of the ways to find help that's right for you."

Mental Health at Work
According to the survey, only 28% of working Canadians living with a mental health issue have spoken to their employer about it – a sharp drop from the 56% of Canadians who have had a conversation about a serious physical issue with their employer.

"It's clear that social stigma still surrounds mental health across Canada," said Dave Jones, Senior Vice-President, Group Benefits, Sun Life Financial. "People spend a big part of their day at work; they simply can't put aside their mental health issues while they are on the job. Employers have the opportunity to make a difference on this national issue. Creating a safe and supportive environment and offering tools and resources that support mental health and well-being can help employees overcome these challenges."

Getting Help
Despite how common mental illnesses are amongst Canadians, some continue to suffer in silence. One-quarter (27%) did not speak to a health professional about what they were going through. Millennials (33%) were least likely to talk to a health professional, followed by Generation X (27%) and pre-boomers (23%).

"We're socialized to view mental illnesses differently than physical illnesses," said Dr. Sam Mikail, Clinical Psychologist, Sun Life Financial. "Many people struggle to describe what they are experiencing when faced with a mental health issue. It's easier to talk about a sore back than what's on your mind. Know that you're not alone and don't be afraid to ask for help; speaking with your primary care physician or healthcare professional is a good first step."

Whether you're seeking treatment from a clinical psychologist or simply leaning on your best friend for emotional support, Dr. Mikail recommends a few tips that have been proven to help tackle mental health troubles:

  1. Invest in time with your loved ones and people you enjoy being around.
  2. Exercise and focus on a healthy diet. Feeling physically healthy can promote a healthy mind.
  3. Learn more about your workplace's employee assistance program and mental health support tools.
  4. Ask for help when you need it. Your primary care physician can help with what you're going through and find a treatment that suits your needs.

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada is a member of the Sun Life Financial group of companies.

About the survey
The Sun Life Financial Barometer is based on findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 13 and October 19, 2017. A sample of 2,900 Canadians was drawn from the Ipsos I-Say online panel: 2,900 Canadians from 20 to 80 years of age. The data for Canadians surveyed was weighted to ensure the sample's regional, age, and gender composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population.

The precision of Ipsos online poll is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 2.1% at 95% confidence level had all Canadian adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to methodological change, coverage error and measurement error.

About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial Inc. is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of March 31, 2018, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management of $979 billion. For more information please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.



Sign Up and get a free 7 day Train it Right HIIT Program!