Five million Canadians use health services for a mental illness annually

Five million Canadians (or about one in seven people) use health services for a mental illness annually, according to a report from Health Canada. Click here to read  the full report

This report, Mental Illness in Canada, 2015 is the first publication to include administrative health data from the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS) for the national surveillance of mental illness. It features the most recent CCDSS data available (fiscal year 2009/10), as well as trend data spanning over a decade (1996/97 to 2009/10). It is also the first national report to include children and adolescents under the age of 15 years.

The CCDSS is a collaborative network of provincial and territorial chronic disease surveillance systems, supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada. It identifies chronic disease cases from provincial and territorial administrative health databases, including physician billing claims and hospital discharge abstract records, linked to provincial and territorial health insurance registry. Data on all residents who are eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance (about 97% of the Canadian population) are captured in the health insurance registry; thus, the CCDSS coverage is near-universal.

In 2010, the Public Health Agency of Canada expanded the CCDSS to track information on mental illness in the Canadian population. The CCDSS identified individuals as having used health services for a mental illness case if they met a minimum requirement of at least one physician claim or one hospital discharge abstract in a given year, using the mental illness codes in the 9th or 10th edition of the International Classification of Diseases.