Rates of depression in youth & adolescents have been increasing. Unfortunately, many of the victims are not receiving the mental health treatment that they need. Global News recently published an investigation, “Tortured Mind“, which took a look at the prevalence of mental illness in Canadian youth.

Tortured Mind covered the consequences of lacking mental health literacy. This past Monday, scientists at Columbia University confirmed the facts in Tortured Mind, concluding that adequate treatment is not being provided to youth who suffer from mental health problems.

“Depression in adolescents is more common than many teachers and parents realize. Unlike some mental health problems that present primarily with disruptive behaviours that attract attention and are easy to recognize, depression poses a greater challenge,” said Dr. Mark Olfson, lead author of the Columbia University study.

Canadians & Mental Health: The Facts

  • Major cases of depression rose from 8.7% in 2005 to 11.3% in 2014.
  • Teenage girls are more likely to experience depression.
  • Depression significantly affects students’ academics, social life, and overall health.
  • Teens with depression are more susceptible to suicide, substance abuse, and pregnancy.
  • In people aged 15-24, suicide is the second-leading cause of death.
  • 4,000 Canadians pass away from suicide every year.
  • 20% of adolescents are affected by mental illness (ie. ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia, eating disorders, anxiety, etc.).

Why teenagers do not get the help that they need

Dr. Olfson explains that, “Sometimes, parents think their child is simply passing through a phase and have trouble recognizing depression. For others, stigma interferes with seeking out treatment or parents may not believe that effective treatment exists.”

Solving the mental health stigma with education

Experts, as quoted in Tortured Mind, recommend mental health literacy be taught from a grade school age. Even if the concepts are at a rudimentary level, it is beneficial for mental health awareness to begin at an early age. This can prevent confusion and encourage proactivity as the students grow up.


Major depression is on the rise in youth, especially teenage girls: study

What happens when mental health education isn’t taught to kids

Written by Lindsey Locke, Columnist for SOS Safety Magazine