Inequities in Mental Health

Major mental health inequities exist in Canada and globally. We know that mental health is a big part of our overall health that is directly impacted by social determinants. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has reported that low self-rated mental health (meaning how people view or rate their own mental health versus an official mental health diagnosis) is more common among those with the lowest income, those with lower levels of education and those with unskilled or semi-skilled occupations.

Low self-rated mental health is also reported by people who identify as bisexual or gay/lesbian compared with those who identify as heterosexual. Non-heterosexuality is also associated with higher rates of suicidal thoughts and acts, as well as self-harm. This is directly linked to stigma and discrimination.

“Factors associated with elevated rates of LGBT youth suicidality risk include homophobic and transphobic abuse, social isolation, early identification of sexual or gender diversity, conflict with family or peers about sexual or gender identity, inability to disclose sexual or gender identity, in addition to common mental health problems.”
~McDermott, Hughes and Rawlings

Rates of hospitalization for those who are living with a mental health diagnosis are also directly linked to the social determinants of health. Mental health-related hospitalization rates go up with each ‘step down’ in a neighbourhood’s income, education levels and other material and social deprivations.

Have you, or someone you know, experienced a mental health issue and had trouble accessing services? Why do you think that is?

If not, what supports were used? Are these resources available for everyone?


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Post-Secondary Peer Support Training Curriculum Copyright © 2022 by Jenn Cusick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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