Depression, anxiety cost Canadian economy $50 billion annually; reforms needed to health services

(OTTAWA) September 2, 2016 – The Green Party of Canada is highlighting a Conference Board of Canada report, released on Sept. 1, concerning the adverse impact of two major mental health problems – depression and anxiety – on the Canadian economy. The report estimates that if left untreated, these mental health concerns cost our economy nearly $50 billion annually.

“Canada has known for a very long time that nearly one in five Canadians struggles with a mental health problem, which seriously interferes with Canadians’ well-being in the workplace, community, home, and school,” said Dr. Richard Walsh, Green Party Mental Health Critic and Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Wilfrid Laurier University.

“Depression and anxiety have significant effects on the individuals themselves, which in turn affect the quality of their relationships with family members and friends. Besides the economic consequences in terms of lost productivity, the well-being of individuals themselves, their communities and our society as a whole suffer from individuals’ diminished capacities to contribute to maintaining a healthy society,” Dr. Walsh said.

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands), said: “At the very least, national mental health standards should be set for all workplaces, as the Mental Health Commission of Canada recommended in 2012. The Green Party of Canada is also urging Cabinet to use this Conference Board report as a stimulus to implement the reforms to mental health services that were identified 10 years ago by the Canadian Senate Committee on Mental Health.”