The stigma and challenges associated with mental illness cut across all ages and social groups. In this issue of Spark, learn how MSFHR-funded researchers are working to understand and support mental health for all British Columbians.
With no single known cause, and multiple social, psychological and biological factors, many mental illnesses go undiagnosed and untreated. At any given moment, approximately 800,000 British Columbians are experiencing mental illness; this can affect functioning and relationships at home, school and work, and costs the BC government an estimated $6.6 billion annually.
Although no age or social group is immune to the challenges and stigma of mental illness, the young and disadvantaged are particularly vulnerable and can often feel like they have nowhere to turn. In these instances, the emergency room is often a last resort. In fact, BC saw an 85% increase in youth emergency department visits for mental health from 2009 to 2013 — a period when other admissions remained relatively stable.
The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) is proud to have funded numerous researchers working to better understand the underlying causes and potential treatments for mental illnesses, the best ways to provide care, and how to support mental health and well-being in at-risk groups. As we kick off mental health week, read on to learn more about the difference their research is making.