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New surveys find while mental health knowledge is up, stigma still exists

Last Updated Sep 24, 2019 at 4:21 pm PDT

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Summary

New research shows most of those suffering from a mental illness are still doing so in silence

A survey found 59 per cent of working Canadians have dealt with a mental health issue in the past

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) –┬áMore Canadians are recognizing that mental health is important but while supports are available, less than half are making use of them. New research into the issue shows most of those suffering from a mental illness are still doing so in silence.

According to a Sun Life survey, 59 per cent of working Canadians have dealt with a mental health issue in the past, which is up from 2017.

But the majority are still not making use of workplace supports like benefit plans, free therapy, or e-therapy and even fewer are using the government programs funded by taxes.

The numbers are more pronounced among Millennials; two in three report having dealt with a mental health problem but that demographic is the least likely to get help.

The reasons why are examined in a new survey from the Royal Bank of Canada.

Nearly half of respondents say they believe there is still a stigma around mental health and nearly three quarters admit they’d be reluctant or unwilling to disclose their disability to a boss or co-worker.

Respondents said their ability to do their job would be questioned were they to come forward with a mental illness.

Maria Winslow, Senior Director of Life and Health at RBC Insurance says the numbers show the impact stigma still has.

“Canadians continue to fear the repercussions of disclosing their mental illness,” she says. “Just like with a physical illness, what’s important to note is that you have to go and seek help and take the time to recover, and doing that will actually accelerate the timeline it takes to get better.”

She says employees should look at what their benefits cover. Most disability coverage includes mental illness, which can limit financial repercussions.

“We need to continue to have the conversation,” Winslow adds. “The results of the survey were promising, however because the stigma does still exist, we need to continue to have the conversation in hopes of someday eradicating that stigma.”