Children's Mental Health Facts

Children's Mental Health Facts

  • Mental health disorders are the second highest source of direct health care costs (e.g., hospitals, physicians, medicines) in Canada.
  • The average cost of treating children's mental health problems in community-based agencies is less than $2,500 per child per year. The cost of paediatric hospital bed is more than $2,500 per day.
  • Five of the ten leading causes of disability are related to mental health disorders.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds (24% of all deaths).
  • Hospitalization rates for suicide attempt by 15-19 year old Canadians are 73% above the average for all age groups.
  • The average hospital stay per suicide attempt is 7.1 days.
  • Canada has the third worst suicide rate in the world for 15-19 year olds.
  • In a study of adolescent suicide, at least 78% of subjects saw a physician in the year before their suicide, but only 12% received the medical intervention for a psychiatric issue.
  • The cost to federal and Ontario governments of youth who drop out of school due to lack of mental health treatment is $1.9 billion per year.
  • Poor grades and dropping out are strongly correlated to mental health problems.
  • The average cost of youth detention is $120,000 per year.
  • Up to 10% of the cost of crime in Ontario (approximately $300 million) can be attributed to inadequate mental health care for children and youth.
  • When children with mental health disorders are not effectively treated, they become more vulnerable and less resilient as they approach adulthood, which may result in adult mental ill-health, involvement with the law and homelessness.
  • When community mental health services are under-funded, there may be an overuse of more expensive health services, inappropriate use of other services and tragedy.
  • Untreated mental health problems in children increase the already high costs of child welfare, youth justice and special education, and the many costs associated with chronic mental illness.
  • The Canadian Paediatric Society indicates that 40-50% of the office visits to their members is for mental health problems.
  • A study by the London School Economics indications that a brief series of sessions using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is successful for 50% of adult depression sufferers. They also indicated that the cost of providing this therapy would more than fully offset in-year savings in other places that the financial benefit to society as a whole is at least double.
  • Many patients with mental health problems are treated at unnecessarily high costs in ordinary health care centres because points of referral for mental health treatment are frequently missing. This is especially true of children's mental health.

Courtesy of Children's Mental Health Ontario

For more information, contact:

Joanne Sherin, Executive Director
jsherin@vanier.com
519-433-3101, ext. 183