Mental Health Indicators for Canada

A preliminary report entitled Informing the Future: Mental Health Indicators for Canada was released today by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). You can check it out here. The purpose of the report is to put together a more complete picture of mental health in Canada than we currently have and answer questions such as, how many Canadians experience positive mental health? How many suffer from common mental health conditions? 

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Suicide Prevention in Toronto

There has been a lot of discussion about the Toronto Public Health Board’s recent report to city council on suicide prevention. For some, it may be surprising to learn that suicide is the cause of more deaths in Toronto than motor vehicle accidents and homicide (about three and four times as many, respectively). In 2009, this translated to 243 deaths by suicide in Toronto.

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Identifying Depression

There has been a lot of talk lately on some recent research out of Chicago that suggests that depression can be detected using a blood test. More specifically, researchers have published their findings that suggest that certain genetic markers differ between individuals that meet the researchers’ criteria for major depressive disorder and those that do not. Furthermore, they concluded that markers could also help to delineate whether cognitive behavioural therapy would be helpful for a given person, and could potentially be used to help determine whether treatment is working throughout the treatment process.

These findings have been met with mixed reactions.

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World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, a creation of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). The goal is to help reduce stigma, encourage discussion, and ultimately reduce deaths by suicide.

Nearly 4000 Canadians die by suicide every year. In my former province of Alberta, the rate of suicide is higher than the national average and suicides account for more deaths per year in Alberta than motor vehicle collisions. If this surprises you, it may be because these deaths typically occur in the shadows of the public sphere and they are seldom talked about openly.

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