Most Canadians have good mental health, feel positive about life

By on September 18, 2014

happy people

TORONTO — A new report on the mental health status of Canadians has found that 77 per cent of people aged 15 or older are considered to be psychologically flourishing — feeling good about life and functioning well.

The Statistics Canada report found less than two per cent of Canadians are classified as languishing, meaning they experience low positive emotions and poor functioning, while almost 22 per cent of Canadians are classified as having moderate mental health.

The report is based on results from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey.

When combined with information on mental illness, almost three-quarters of Canadians are estimated to have complete mental health and don’t meet criteria for six major mental disorders: depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and alcohol, cannabis or other drug abuse or dependence.

Men and women were equally likely to have complete mental health, with factors contributing to well-being including age, marital status, income, education, employment status, spirituality and physical health.

The report found age is a strong factor in psychological well-being, with 80 per cent of those aged 65 and older having complete mental health, compared to 65 per cent among those aged 15 to 24.

Having a spouse or partner is also associated with having complete mental health, as is higher education and income.

People who reported that religious or spiritual beliefs were important in their daily lives were significantly more likely to be in complete mental health than those not classified as having strong spirituality: 76 per cent versus 66 per cent, respectively.