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Mental illness can be defined as a condition that is characterized by alterations in mood, thinking, and/or behaviour, and associated with symptoms of significant distress and impaired functioning (Health Canada, 2002). There are a wide variety of mental illnesses, ranging from mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, problem gambling, and substance dependency (PHAC, 2015). Symptoms of mental illness reduce a person’s ability to cope with every day life. These symptoms may be psychological or behavioural, and can range from mild to severe (Health Canada, 2002). For some, mental illness may arise from genetic or biological conditions in the brain (Health Canada, 2002); other times, it may be impacted by a wide range of individual, family, social, economic, or environmental factors, such as medical illnesses/poor nutrition, family conflict, social isolation, work stress, unemployment, or poverty (WHO, 2004; Health Canada, 2002).

Treatment and support is available for individuals who have or suspect that they may have a mental illness. Help is also available for loved ones who are supporting individuals with a mental health issue.

mental health words shaped as a light bulb

The Windsor-Essex Community Mental Health Survey conducted by IPSOS in 2018 found that 67% of Windsor-Essex County respondents reported very good or excellent mental health (IPSOS, 2018); however, about 1 in 5 Windsor-Essex County respondents (21%) reported having ever been diagnosed with a mental illness by a healthcare professional (IPSOS, 2018). The reports linked below provide an overview of mental health and wellness in our community:


Health Canada. (2002). A report on mental illness in Canada. Retrieved from

IPSOS Public Affairs. (2018). Windsor-Essex County Health Unit Community Mental Health Survey [received 2018 Feb 12]. 

Public Health Agency of Canada [PHAC]. (2015). Mental illness. Retrieved from

World Health Organization [WHO]. (2004). Prevention of mental health disorders. Retrieved  from


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Last modified: 
Monday, December 9, 2019 - 9:53am