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Receiving care for a mental illness, 2018

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Released: 2020-02-06

Mental illness affects many Canadians at some point in their lives, whether personally or through a family member, friend or colleague. In 2018, mental illness was the most common reason for receiving care (18%), especially among young care receivers aged 15 to 34 (56%). Receiving care for a mental illness was more common among young men (52%) than young women (48%).

Almost 9 in 10 Canadians who reported having a mental illness received care from a family member or friend, most often a parent (72%). This is partly reflective of age: over three-quarters (77%) of those aged 15 to 24 received care from a parent, compared with just over two-thirds (67%) of those aged 25 to 34.

The most common type of care received from a family member or friend was emotional support (83%). This was followed by transportation to run errands, shop or attend medical appointments (65%), help with household chores (57%), house maintenance (51%), and scheduling and coordinating medical appointments (48%).

Receiving professional care for a mental illness was less common for young people, with 1 in 10 young Canadians receiving care from professionals only. The most common types of care received from professionals were emotional support (98%), including therapy or counselling, and medical treatment (24%), such as medication and other medical procedures.

Among young care receivers, just over three-quarters (76%) stated that, were it not for their primary caregiver—typically their parents—they would have had difficulty finding help from someone else.

Young care receivers were generally satisfied with the balance of care they received from family members or friends, and professionals. Just over one-quarter (26%) of young care receivers reported that they were not satisfied with the balance of help they received. Almost four-fifths (79%) of those who were dissatisfied would have preferred more professional help.

  Note to readers

These results are based on data from the 2018 General Social Survey on Caregiving and Care Receiving. The analysis covers the population aged 15 and older living in private households (20,258 respondents, representing almost 31 million Canadians).


Over the next few months, Statistics Canada will be releasing results from the 2018 General Social Survey on Caregiving and Care Receiving as part of the "Care Counts" series. This series delves into key trends and societal changes that influence caregiving and care receiving in Canada.

Today, as part of the third "Care Counts" release, Statistics Canada is releasing an infographic titled "Care counts: Receiving care for a mental illness, 2018," an overview of people who received care for a mental illness.

Previous "Care Counts" releases include infographics titled "Care counts: Caregivers in Canada, 2018," a profile of Canada's 7.8 million caregivers, and "Care counts: Care receivers in Canada, 2018," a profile of Canada's 3 million care receivers. In addition, a study titled "Support received by caregivers in Canada" was released in Insights on Canadian Society.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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