What is mental illness? Who gets mental illness?

Mental illnesses and disorders reduce our ability to cope with daily life. It can affect anyone. About 1 in 4 Canadians experience mental illness at some time in their life.

Mental illness can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. It can also be caused by environmental factors, such as stress and lack of support from family and friends. These are some examples of mental illness:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia

This is not a complete list. Mental illness has many forms.

Mental illness can affect anyone. It affects people of all ages, ethnicities, religions, occupations, and levels of income and education.

Where can I get help with my mental health?

For More Information

  • Mental Health Helpline - This free, confidential phone line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They provide information about mental health services in Ontario. Information is available in over 170 languages. Information by email or web chat is also available.
  • Understanding Mental Illness - Information about mental illness, including common misunderstandings about mental illness. From the Canadian Mental Health Association.
  • Mental Health & Addiction Information - Links to information and resources about mental health and addiction. From the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
  • Alone in Canada: 21 Ways to Make it Better - Information for single newcomers to Canada. You can get it in more than 15 languages. From the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
  • Navigating Mental Health Services in Toronto - A Guide for Newcomer Communities - This guide has information about mental health issues that newcomers face as a result of moving to a new country. It also explains your rights as a patient. You can get it in many languages.
Last updated: January 26, 2016 4001308