Mental Health in Eastern Ontario

On this page:

What is mental health?
What is mental health promotion?
What is the role of the EOHU in mental health promotion?
EOHU Population Mental Health Survey and Results
More information

What is mental health?

Mental health is a state of mental well-being and refers to the range of emotions, thoughts, and feelings that everyone experiences. It exists on a continuum and can fluctuate based on many factors. Positive mental health enhances our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face.

A mental illness is a condition diagnosed by a qualified healthcare professional. Mental health and mental illness can co-exist but are separate.

The dual continuum of mental health

The dual continuum of mental health

Image adapted from: School Mental Health Ontario

What is mental health promotion?

Mental health promotion:

  • Focuses on the enhancement of well-being rather than on illness.
  • Addresses the population as a whole, including people experiencing risk conditions, in the context of everyday life.
  • Takes action on the determinants of health.
  • Broadens the focus to include protective factors, rather than simply focusing on risk factors and conditions.
  • Includes a wide range of strategies such as communication, education, and policy development.
  • Acknowledges and reinforces the competencies of the population.
  • Encompasses the health and social sectors.
  • Uses strategies that foster supportive environments and individual resilience while demonstrating respect for culture, equity, social justice, interconnections, and personal dignity.

Promoting positive mental health also increases access to health and social services, improves physical health and helps to reduce the stigma of mental health.

What is the role of the EOHU in mental health promotion?

The Ontario Public Health Standards outline mental health promotion as an area of consideration for public health and provide a Mental Health Promotion Guideline.

The EOHU has identified mental health as a top priority and is committed to promoting positive mental health by enhancing the capacity of individuals to improve their psychological well-being, competence and resilience and by creating supportive living conditions and environments.

A comprehensive approach to population mental health includes three tiers of action including (1) promoting mental health, (2) preventing mental illness, and (3) treating mental illness.

The Three Tiers of Health

Image adapted from: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

The role of the EOHU centres on promoting mental health and preventing mental illness but can extend as far as early identification and referrals. Public health doesn’t typically deliver early intervention and treatment services, although there may be some cases in which it is appropriate.

EOHU Population Mental Health Survey and Results

A survey was conducted in the fall of 2022 to gain a better picture of the state of our population’s mental health as well as the needs and challenges faced by our community.

Methods and demographics

The EOHU used telephone, email and in-person opportunities to anonymously survey a representative sample (2,185) of individuals 18 years of age and over who live within the EOHU catchment area about their mental health status and experiences with accessing and receiving mental health care.
 
Results are presented for the EOHU region and sub-regions: the City of Cornwall (Cornwall), the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry (UCSDG), the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) excluding the Town of Hawkesbury (Hawkesbury) which is presented separately.

The results are based on unweighted data using a statistically significant sample size for the EOHU region and sub-regions noted above.

Results: EOHU population mental health summaries

As part of World Mental Health Day 2023 celebrations, the EOHU launched the first in a series of six summaries to share survey results with community partners and the public. Results are helping the EOHU and community partners assess and inform current and future mental health promotion strategies, programs and services.

Visit this webpage regularly for the following summary releases. Summaries are accessible and intended to be easy to understand and use. Specific datasets may be requested at info@eohu.ca.

Overall Mental Health Status - EOHU Region

This summary describes the overall status of mental health across the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region and sub-regions: the City of Cornwall (Cornwall), the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry (UCSDG), the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) excluding the Town of Hawkesbury (Hawkesbury) which is presented separately.

Self-Rated Mental Health
Happiness and Psychological Well-Being
Feelings of Self-Harm or Suicide
COVID-19 Pandemic and Mental Health

Self-Rated Mental Health

Self-rated mental health measures an individual’s perception of their mental health status. Poor self-rated mental health is associated with poor health outcomes, increased use of health services, and poor satisfaction with services.

In the EOHU region, more than half of residents (58%) perceive their overall mental health status as being excellent or very good, while an additional 26% rate theirs as good.

Reported perception of overall mental health was similar among residents living in UCSDG, UCPR, and Hawkesbury, but notably lower in residents living in Cornwall. (See Table 1.)

Table 1: Percentage (%) of residents who report perceiving their mental health status as being excellent or very good, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
58% 45% 60% 65% 60%

Happiness and Psychological Well-Being

Higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction are associated with positive mental and physical health outcomes.  

Happiness

Happiness is a positive emotional state that varies over time and reflects our day-to-day experiences, such as feeling happy while taking a vacation or participating in a favourite activity.  

Residents were asked how often they felt happy in the month prior to the survey. As shown in Table 2, most residents feel happy every day or almost every day. Compared to residents living in other areas within the EOHU region, those living in UCPR report feeling happy more often.

Table 2: Percentage (%) of residents who report feeling happy every day or almost every day in the past month, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
74% 61% 76% 81% 78%

Life Satisfaction

Life satisfaction is an overall self-assessment of an individual’s perception of their life. It is related to self-rated mental health. Higher life satisfaction is linked to higher life enjoyment.

When asked how often they felt satisfied with their life in the month prior to the survey, most residents report they were satisfied with their life every day or almost every day. Again, reported life satisfaction among residents living in UCPR is higher than other EOHU regions, as shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Percentage (%) of residents satisfied with their life every day or almost every day in the past month, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
74% 62% 75% 81% 77%

Interest in Life

A person’s interest in life, or lack thereof, is one factor used to assess a person’s psychological well-being.1  Individuals who feel less interested in life are at higher risk of experiencing psychological distress and disorders.

As shown in Table 4, a lower proportion of residents from Cornwall report feeling interested in life every day or almost every day, compared to other areas in the EOHU region.

Table 4: Percentage (%) of residents interested in life every day or almost every day in the past month, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
79% 68% 80% 85% 81%

Feelings of Worthlessness, Hopelessness and Depression

Individuals with frequent feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness are at higher risk of mood disorders and depression.2

At least once or twice in the month prior to the survey, in the EOHU region:

  • 29% of residents felt worthless
  • 32% of residents felt hopeless
  • 30% of residents felt depressed

Residents from Cornwall report feeling these negative feelings more than any other area within the EOHU, as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Percentage (%) of residents who felt worthless, hopeless, or depressed at least once or twice in the past month, by region, EOHU 2022. (Accessible table version of data included below chart.)

Bar chart. Accessible table version of data included below chart.

Percentage (%) of residents who felt worthless, hopeless, or depressed at least once or twice in the past month, by region, EOHU 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
Worthless 29% 37% 27% 24% 27%
Hopeless 32% 45% 26% 25% 31%
Depressed 30% 40% 30% 24% 29%

Feelings of Self-Harm or Suicide

Self-harm and suicide are complex issues which do not have a single cause. Rather, they involve a combination of biological, psychosocial, social, cultural, spiritual, economic, and environmental factors, which can also influence mental illness and poor mental health. While the presence of mental illness (i.e. depression) may increase an individual’s risk of suicide, positive mental health and well-being can act as a protective factor helping to guard against suicide.

If you are facing a mental health emergency or crisis, call 911 or go to your local hospital Emergency Room.  You can also contact a crisis line.

For adults:

For children and youth:

While most residents throughout the EOHU catchment area report never having feelings of suicide or self-harm (93%), 5 to 6% of residents from UCPR, UCSDG and Hawkesbury reported having feelings of self-harm or suicide at least once or twice in the month preceding the survey. In contrast, 11% of residents from Cornwall reported having these same feelings at least once or twice in the month prior to the survey.

Figure 2: Percentage (%) of residents in EOHU region who had feelings of suicide or self-harm at least once or twice in the month prior to survey, by region, 2022. (Accessible table version of data included below chart.)

Bar chart. Accessible table version of data included below chart.

Percentage (%) of residents in EOHU region who had feelings of suicide or self-harm at least once or twice in the month prior to survey, by region, 2022.

EOHU CORNWALL HAWKESBURY UCPR UCSDG
Percentage of residents (%) 7% 11% 6% 5% 5%

COVID-19 Pandemic and Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone more aware of the importance of mental health. While recent research suggests that many Canadians feel their mental health has worsened since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lasting impact of the pandemic is not fully understood, and the long term physical and mental health impacts may not be apparent yet.3,4,5

While most survey residents within the EOHU region perceive their mental health status as stable or improved since before the COVID-19 pandemic (77%), a significant amount (23%) indicate their mental health has worsened, as shown in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3: EOHU region residents' perceived change in their mental health status since before the COVID-19 pandemic, by level of change, EOHU, 2022. (Accessible table version of data included below chart.)

Bar chart. Accessible table version of data included below chart.

EOHU region residents' perceived change in their mental health status since before the COVID-19 pandemic, by level of change, EOHU, 2022.

Much better now Somewhat better About the same Somewhat worse now Much worse now
Percentage of residents (%) 7% 8% 61% 18% 5%

Compared to other regions within the EOHU catchment area, fewer residents from Hawkesbury report that their mental health has worsened since before the pandemic, as shown in Table 5.

Table 5: Percentage (%) of residents who report their mental health has worsened since before the COVID-19 pandemic, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
23% 30% 17% 20% 24%

References:

1 Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JB, Löwe B. An ultra-brief screening scale for anxiety and depression: the PHQ-4. Psychosomatics. 2009 Nov-Dec;50(6):613-21. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.50.6.613. PMID: 19996233. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19996233/

2 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). 2023. Depression: Screening & Assessment. https://www.camh.ca/en/professionals/treating-conditions-and-disorders/depression/depression---screening-and-assessment

3 Pongou R, Ahinkorah BO, Maltais S, Mabeu MC, Agarwal A, Yaya S. Psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. PLoS One. 2022 Nov 17;17(11):e0277238. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0277238. PMID: 36395148; PMCID: PMC9671380. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9671380/

4 Public Health Agency of Canada. (2023). Cycle 2: Symptoms of anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/cycle-2-symptoms-anxiety-depression-covid-19-pandemic.html

5 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). (2022, July). Anxiety, feelings of depression and loneliness among Canadians spikes to highest levels since spring 2020. https://www.camh.ca/en/camh-news-and-stories/anxiety-depression-loneliness-among-canadians-spikes-to-highest-levels 

Access to Mental Health Supports and Services - EOHU Region

Resources for Mental Health Management
Ease of Access to Services
Getting Help

Mental health concerns us all. Some individuals don’t seek or can’t get the services and supports they need to live a fulfilling life.1 Every individual deserves to access (i.e. have the ability and opportunity to use) the mental health supports and services they need within their community. When an individual cannot access the supports and services they need, this can negatively impact their mental health. Ensuring high quality access to services while reducing or removing barriers can create more opportunities for individuals living with mental health problems and illnesses to improve their mental health and daily lives.2

Barriers can be personal, social, financial, physical, and psychological, including but not limited to availability, accessibility, affordability, processes (i.e. wait times, eligibility), transportation, knowledge, stigma, location, and culture and language barriers.

This summary describes the overall access to mental health supports and services outcomes across the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) and sub-regions: the City of Cornwall (Cornwall), the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry (UCSDG), the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) excluding the Town of Hawkesbury (Hawkesbury) which is presented separately.

Resources for Mental Health Management

Every individual has different mental health challenges and needs. It is important for individuals to have access to various types of resources and supports to meet those specific needs and address any challenges.3

In the EOHU region, 30% of residents report accessing resources (via phone, in person, or on the internet) to help manage their emotions or mental health. As shown in Table 1, a higher proportion of residents from Cornwall (37%) and Hawkesbury (33%) access mental health resources, compared to other sub-regions.

Table 1: Percentage (%) of EOHU residents who report accessing mental health resources, by region and sub-regions, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
30% 37% 33% 27% 26%

Of the EOHU residents who access mental health resources, the 3 types of resources most commonly accessed for support or to improve their mental health are: (1) in-person or virtual therapy or counseling sessions, (2) primary care (e.g. physician, nurse practitioner), and (3) online resources or information from a website. The 3 most commonly accessed resources were consistent among all sub-regions of the EOHU. Figure 1 outlines the different types of resources EOHU residents accessed. The main types of resources cited by those who selected “other” include Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), as well as family and friends. For this question, residents were able to select more than one option.

Figure 1: Percentage (%) of mental health resources accessed in the EOHU region and sub-regions, by type, 2022. (Accessible table version of data included below chart.)

Bar chart. Accessible table version of data included below chart.

Percentage (%) of mental health resources accessed in the EOHU region and sub-regions, by type, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
In person or virtual therapy or counseling 29% 29% 29% 31% 29%
Primary care 24% 22% 22% 26% 25%
Online resources or information from a website 17% 19% 17% 14% 20%
Community health programs/activities 9% 8% 8% 8% 9%
Helpline 7% 8% 10% 6% 5%
Hospital care 6% 6% 8% 8% 5%
Faith-based centres 4% 5% 4% 6% 3%
Other 4% 4% 2% 4% 4%

Ease of Access to Services

Ease of access reflects the direct experience of an individual attempting to obtain services. When accessing mental health services, the experience should be clear, easy and timely, without unnecessary challenges.

Residents who have accessed services were asked what would make their experience and access to mental health services easier. More than one response could be selected by residents. The most popular responses included: quicker access to support services, affordable services, access to service providers who understand their needs, and that primary care and other first-line service providers are aware of community resources. (See Figure 2.) EOHU residents who selected “other” identified more support, virtual option and hours adapted to population needs as priorities to make their experience and access easier. The most frequent response across all regions was quicker access to support services.

Figure 2: Percentage (%) of responses identified for making one’s experience and access to mental health services easier in the EOHU region and sub-regions, by response option, 2022. (Accessible table version of data included below chart.)

Bar chart. Accessible table version of data included below chart.

Percentage (%) of mental health resources accessed in the EOHU region and sub-regions, by type, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
Quicker access to support services 18% 17% 17% 17% 19%
Affordable services 16% 15% 13% 16% 17%
Access to service providers who understands my needs 15% 15% 15% 14% 14%
That primary care and other first-line service providers are aware of community resources 13% 13% 15% 12% 13%
Proximity to the facility providing the support services 8% 11% 10% 12% 11%
Physical access to the facility providing support services 11% 11% 10% 10% 11%
Access to service providers who can speak my language 10% 9% 11% 9% 8%
Culturally sensitive staff 8% 7% 8% 7% 7%
Other 1% 2% 0% 3% 2%

Getting Help

Seeking help when mental health supports and services are needed is just as important as reaching out to a doctor when physically ill. Mental health is just as important as physical health. 4

About a quarter (23%) of EOHU residents report seeing or talking to a health professional about their emotional or mental health in the 12 months prior to the survey. The percentage of residents across sub-regions seeing or talking to a health professional about their emotional or mental health ranges from 19% to 31%, with Cornwall residents having a notably higher percentage (31%) than all other sub-regions. (See Table 2.)

Table 2: Percentage (%) of EOHU residents who report seeing or talking to a health professional about their mental health, by region and sub-regions, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
23% 31% 21% 19% 22%

Across the EOHU region and all sub-regions, the health professional most often seen or talked to is a family doctor. The breakdown of other types of health professionals consulted by EOHU residents is shown in Figure 3. Residents who selected “other” identified family and friends, therapist, helpline, hospital and EAP. Residents were able to select more than one response.

Figure 3: Type of health professional seen or spoken to about one’s mental health, in the EOHU region, 2022. (Accessible table version of data included below chart.)

Bar chart. Accessible table version of data included below chart.Type of health professional seen or spoken to about one’s mental health, in the EOHU region, 2022.

Family Doctor Social Worker Psychologist Psychiatrist Nurse Other
EOHU 74% 28% 20% 15% 9% 15%

Amongst all EOHU residents who saw or spoke with a health professional in the 12 months preceding the survey, 60% feel they got the help they needed for their mental health. The proportion is lower for Cornwall and higher for UCPR as shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Percentage (%) of residents in EOHU region feeling they got the help they needed for their mental health, by region and sub-regions, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
60% 50% 62% 71% 63%

Of the residents who reported not seeing or talking to a health professional about their mental health, 10 to 21% of them report that they needed to see or talk to a health professional but didn’t. (See Table 4.)

Table 4: Percentage (%) of residents in EOHU region needing to see or talk to a health professional but did not access one, by region and sub-region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
14% 21% 14% 10% 12%

When asked why, 3 common reasons were identified by those who report that they needed to see or talk to a health professional but didn’t. (See Figure 4.) They are:  
(1) preferred to self-manage
(2) help was not readily available
(3) haven’t gotten around to it (e.g. too busy)

Figure 4: Percentage (%) of responses identified for why residents chose not to consult anybody about their mental health in EOHU region and sub-regions, by response option, 2022. (Accessible table version of data included below chart.)

Bar chart. Accessible table version of data included below chart.

Percentage (%) of responses identified for why residents chose not to consult anybody about their mental health in EOHU region and sub-regions, by response option, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
You preferred to self-manage 26% 22% 28% 29% 32%
Help was not readily available 19% 20% 18% 26% 17%
You haven’t gotten around to it 13% 11% 14% 9% 10%
You didn’t have confidence in the health care system 9% 9% 6% 7% 15%
You did not know how or where to get this kind of help 8% 11% 8% 5% 6%
You couldn’t afford to pay 7% 7% 8% 5% 6%
Your job interfered 7% 9% 12% 7% 5%
You were afraid of what others may think of you 6% 8% 4% 5% 6%
Language problem 1% 0% 2% 4% 0%
Other 4% 2% 2% 3% 4%

References:

1 Mental Health Commission of Canada, "Mental Health Strategy for Canada," [Online]. Available: https://mentalhealthcommission.ca/what-we-do/mental-health-strategy-for-canada/. [Accessed 20 July 2023].

2 Mental Health Commission of Canada, "Access to Quality Mental Health Care," [Online]. Available: https://mentalhealthcommission.ca/what-we-do/access/. [Accessed 20 July 2023].

3 Canadian Mental Health Association, "Fast Facts about Mental Health and Mental Illness," [Online]. Available: https://cmha.ca/brochure/fast-facts-about-mental-illness/. [Accessed 20 July 2023].

4 Mental Health Commission of Canada, "Take the first step in seeking support for your mental health," 21 April 2022. [Online]. Available: https://mentalhealthcommission.ca/blog-posts/37474-take-the-first-step-in-seeking-support-for-your-mental-health/. [Accessed 20 July 2023].

Individual, Community and Social Determinants of Mental Health - EOHU Region

Our mental health is directly and indirectly influenced by our life experiences, social circumstances, and the conditions of our surroundings.

This summary describes such factors at the individual, community, and social levels across the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region and sub-regions: the City of Cornwall (Cornwall), the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry (UCSDG), the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) excluding the Town of Hawkesbury (Hawkesbury) which is presented separately.

Connectedness
Having a Sense of Meaning
Unfair Treatment
Reaching Out

Connectedness

When people are socially connected and have stable and supportive relationships, they are more likely to make healthy choices and to have better mental and physical health outcomes.1 Living in a place with more walkability and recreational open spaces and infrastructure has a positive impact on health, including mental health – it especially helps enables mental restoration.2

Most (77%) EOHU residents feel that, in the past month, they had warm and trusting relationships with others every day or almost everyday. The percentage of residents across sub-regions feeling that, in the past month, they had warm and trusting relationships with others every day or almost everyday ranges from 71% to 81%. (See Table 1.)

Table 1: Percentage (%) of residents feeling they had warm and trusting relationships with others every day or almost everyday in the last month, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
77% 71% 72% 80% 81%

A third of EOHU residents have feelings of isolation or loneliness some of the time (23%) or often (11%). The prevalence of residents having feelings of isolation or loneliness some of the time or often was higher among residents living in Cornwall (28% and 18% respectively). (See Table 2.)

Table 2: Percentage (%) of residents feeling isolated or lonely some of the time or often, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
Some of the time 23% 28% 21% 21% 23%
Often 11% 18% 12% 8% 10%

Most (68%) EOHU  residents describe their sense of belonging to their local community as very strong or somewhat strong . About a third (31%) describe their sense of belonging to their local community as somewhat weak or very weak. The reported sense of belonging is higher in UCSDG and lower in Cornwall. (See Table 3.)

Table 3: Percentage (%) of residents who have a strong or weak sense of belonging to their local community, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
Very strong or somewhat strong 68% 59% 65% 70% 75%
Weak or very weak 31% 39% 35% 30% 25%

Most (85%) EOHU residents agree or strongly agree they have easy access to several free or low-cost recreation facilities, such as parks, walking trails, bike paths, recreation centres, playgrounds, or public swimming pools. The prevalence of residents agreeing or strongly agreeing that they have easy access to several free or low-cost recreation facilities is higher in Cornwall (92%). (See Table 4.)

Table 4: Percentage (%) of residents who agree or strongly agree that they have easy access to several free or low-cost recreation facilities, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
85% 92% 84% 82% 82%

Having a Sense of Meaning

People who have a strong sense of purpose and meaning in life tend to be more resilient and have better mental and physical health.3,4

Most (73%) EOHU residents feel their life, in the past month, had a sense of direction or meaning every day or almost  every day. Some (4%) EOHU residents feel that their life, in the past month, never had a sense of direction or meaning. The prevalence of residents feeling that their life never had a sense of direction or meaning is higher in Cornwall (8%). (See Table 5.)

Table 5: Percentage (%) of residents who, in the last month, felt their life had a sense of direction or meaning every day or almost every day, and never, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
Every day or almost every day 73% 62% 75% 79% 75%
Never 4% 8% 4% 2% 3%

Unfair Treatment

Experiencing any prejudice or unfair treatment is a predictor of poorer self-rated mental health.5

One thing a person can do to improve their mental health is to share their struggles. Having the support of others is a basic need. In trying times, people tend to succeed when they have others on their side. Unfortunately, a fear of unfair treatment also contributes to people with mental health needs keeping them a secret. As a result, they don’t get help or support.6

A quarter (27%) of EOHU residents have experienced prejudice or unfair treatment in the past 5 years. The prevalence of residents having experienced prejudice or unfair treatment ranges from 22% (UCPR) to 33% (Cornwall). (See Table 6.)

Table 6: Percentage (%) of residents who have experienced prejudice or unfair treatment in the past 5 years, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
27% 33% 23% 22% 29%

Reaching Out

Some (10%) EOHU residents are not at all comfortable sharing their mental health needs with a friend or family member. When asked what would prevent them from sharing their mental health needs with a friend or family member, the single response most identified (20%) was not wanting to be judged. However, most (35%) indicate a combination of factors including fear, a lack of trust, not wanting to be judged, not wanting to appear weak, and not wanting to receive pity. Some variation by region is seen. (See Tables 7 and 8 .)

Table 7: Percentage (%) of residents who are not at all comfortable sharing their mental health needs with a friend or family member, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
10% 13% 13% 7% 9%

Table 8: Responses identified (by those who responded not at all comfortable to previous question) when asked what would prevent them from sharing their mental health needs with a friend or family member, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
Not wanting to be judged 20% 23% 21% 21% 13%
Combination of factors 35% 34% 15% 43% 39%

References:

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "How Does Social Connectedness Affect Health?" 30 March 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/emotional-wellbeing/social-connectedness/affect-health.htm. [Accessed 14 July 2023].

2 Noa Pinter-Wollman, Andrea Jelic, Nancy M. Wells, "The impact of the built environment on health behaviours and disease transmission in social systems," Philosophical Transactions Royal Society, vol. 373, p. 20170245, 25 February 2018.

3 Mulahalilović A, Hasanović M, Pajević I, Jakovljević M, "Meaning and the Sense of Meaning in Life from a Health Perspective," Psychiatr Danub, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 1025-1031, 2021.

4 Schaefer SM, Morozink Boylan J, van Reekum CM, Lapate RC, Norris CJ, Ryff CD, Davidson RJ, "Purpose in life predicts better emotional recovery from negative stimuli," PLoS One, vol. 8, no. 11, 2013.

5 Janice Du Mont, Tonia Forte, "Perceived discrimination and self-rated health in Canada: an exploratory study," BMC Public Health, vol. 16, no. 742, 2016.

6 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, "Stigma," [Online]. Available: https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/guides-and-publications/stigma. [Accessed 17 July 2023].

Stress, Coping and Resilience - EOHU Region

When faced with stressful situations or events, such as the death of a loved one, pressure at work or at school, serious illness or accidents, most individuals can find ways to cope. Effectively dealing with stressful events or situations in daily life requires, among other things, resilience, self-efficacy, and coping skills.1

This summary describes residents’ perceived levels and contributors of stress, as well as their ability to cope with these, across the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region and sub-regions: the City of Cornwall (Cornwall), the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry (UCSDG), the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) excluding the Town of Hawkesbury (Hawkesbury) which is presented separately.

Stress
Coping
Resilience

Stress

Stress is a reaction to a situation — it isn’t about the actual situation. While stress is part of being human, no one can eliminate all stress from their life or prevent stress from ever happening in the future.2 Chronic stress increases one’s risk of mental health problems (such as anxiety and depression, substance use problems, and sleep problems) as well as medical problems (such as gastrointestinal issues, increased risk of infections, cardiovascular disease, and stroke).3

As shown in Table 1, a quarter (24%) of EOHU residents describe most of their days as being quite a bit or extremely stressful. The proportion of residents describing most of their days as being quite a bit or extremely stressful ranges from 21% in the UCPR to 30% in Cornwall (see Table 1 for breakdown by region).

Table 1: Percentage (%) of residents who perceive that most days in their life are quite a bit stressful or extremely stressful, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
24% 30% 22% 21% 24%

Contributors to Stress

When asked to report the three (3) most important things contributing to their feelings of stress in their day-to-day lives, the top responses for the EOHU region are:

  1. Time pressures/not enough time
  2. Caring for own children, personal or family responsibilities and others
  3. Financial situation (e.g. not enough money, debt)

“Time pressures/not enough time” is the top contributor of stress reported by residents across all EOHU regions, except for those residing in Cornwall, where one’s “financial situation (e.g. not enough money, debt)” is reported as the top contributor of stress.

Across the EOHU region, “caring for own children, personal or family responsibilities and others” is also consistently reported among the top three (3) things contributing to stress.

Other important factors reported, though varying slightly by sub-region, include coping with one’s “own physical and/ or emotional or mental health problems or conditions”, which is more commonly reported as a concern for residents of UCPR and Hawkesbury.

Psychological effects of stress

Experiences with stress and trauma affect individuals in various ways, bringing on periods of nervousness and affecting a person’s ability to function and manage life.

Feeling nervous or worried at times is common and can be a helpful feeling when it motivates or warns of danger. When these feelings become persistent and severe, it can cause distress in one’s life, such as difficulty managing daily tasks.4

While the proportion of residents from the EOHU region feeling nervous daily or almost daily in the month prior to the survey sits at 16%, this was reported by almost a quarter (24%) of residents from Cornwall and a fifth (20%) of residents from Hawkesbury, as shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Percentage (%) of residents who report feeling nervous every day or almost every day in the past month, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
16% 24% 20% 10% 13%

As shown in Table 3, some residents in the EOHU region feel that everything was an effort every day or almost every day in the month prior to the survey. Comparatively to residents living in other areas within the EOHU region, those living in Cornwall report feeling that everything was an effort more often.

Table 3: Percentage (%) of residents who report feeling that everything was an effort every day or almost every day in the past month, by region, 2022

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
5% 10% 5% 3% 3%

Coping

Acting as a protective factor to mental health, coping is defined as action-oriented internal efforts made to manage the demands created by stressful events.5 This requires developing effective coping skills and self-efficacy, which is defined as being a person’s judgement of their own ability to face a certain situation or complete a specific task.6

In the EOHU region, 50% of residents feel that, overall, they are very good or excellent at coping with life’s demands.  As shown in Table 4, similar rates are seen among residents in most sub-regions (UCSDG, UCPR, and Hawkesbury), except for Cornwall where the rate is notably lower.

Table 4: Percentage (%) of residents who report being excellent or very good at coping with life demands overall, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
50% 39% 53% 56% 51%

The majority (79%) of EOHU residents report feeling good at managing the responsibilities of their daily life every day or almost every day during the month prior to the survey. As shown in Table 5, a lower proportion of residents from Cornwall (72%) report feeling good at managing their daily responsibilities, compared to all other sub-regions.

Table 5: Percentage of residents who feel good at managing the responsibilities of their daily life every day or almost every day, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
79% 72% 81% 85% 79%

Resilience

Resilience is the ability to adapt and continue to function effectively despite failures, setbacks, and losses.7 While some people are more resilient than others, resilience is a response that can be learned and nurtured by building good and healthy relationships with family, friends, and community, as well as by creating a healthy social support network, by seeking social support and by helping others.8

The majority (80%) of EOHU residents rate their ability to handle unexpected situations and challenges as excellent or good, as shown in Table 6. Rates are similar across all sub-regions except for Cornwall where rates are notably lower.

Table 6: Percentage (%) of residents who rate their ability to handle unexpected situations and challenges as excellent or good, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
80% 69% 82% 86% 81%

References:

1 Eastern Ontario Health Unit. (2019) Mental Health in Eastern Ontario-Life Stress. https://eohu.ca/en/mental-health-in-eastern-ontario#life_stress


2 Canadian Mental Health Association. (2016, February 18). Stress. https://cmha.ca/brochure/stress/


3 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). (n.d.). Stress. https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/stress


4 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). (n.d.). Anxiety Disorders. https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/anxiety-disorders


5 Health Canada. (2008). Mental Health - Coping With Stress. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/lifestyles/your-health-mental-health-coping-stress-health-canada-2008.html   


6 Eastern Ontario Health Unit. (2019) Mental Health in Eastern Ontario. https://eohu.ca/en/mental-health-in-eastern-ontario


7 Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (2018). Mental Health Promotion Guideline. Ontario, Canada.


8 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). (n.d.). Building Resilience. https://www.camh.ca/en/camh-news-and-stories/building-resilience

Social Media and Mental Health - EOHU Region

Many individuals enjoy being socially connected to others via social media (e.g. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter/X, etc.). Studies suggest that there is a connection between social media and mental health. There are concerns that excessive use of social media can have serious mental health impacts and consequences, including depression and anxiety symptoms, addiction, disrupted sleep, memory, and concentration problems.1

This summary describes the use of social media and its perceived impact across the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region and sub-regions: the City of Cornwall (Cornwall), the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry (UCSDG), the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) excluding the Town of Hawkesbury (Hawkesbury) which is presented separately.

Social Media Use
Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Social Media Use

Most residents (59%) use social media 2 hours or less per day. As shown in Table 1, a higher proportion of residents from Cornwall (25%) use social media 3 or more hours per day. A higher proportion of residents from Hawkesbury report not using social media at all (29%).

Table 1: Percentage (%) of residents’ reported daily use (hours) of social media, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
0 hours 23% 19% 29% 22% 24%
2 hours or less per day 59% 55% 54% 59% 61%
3 hours or more per day 17% 25% 16% 16% 15%

Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

When asked about the perceived impact of social media use on their mental health, 56% of EOHU residents perceive no impact, 24% perceive a positive impact, while 18% perceive a negative impact. Similar responses are reported across all EOHU sub-regions. However, Cornwall has a notably higher rate of residents (25%) reporting that social media has a negative impact on their mental health, as well as a significantly lower percentage of residents (48%) reporting there is no impact. (See Table 2.)

Table 2: Percentage (%) of residents’ perceived impact of social media use on their mental health by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
Positive impact 24% 25% 22% 24% 24%
Negative impact 18% 25% 16% 15% 17%
No impact 56% 48% 58% 60% 58%
Don’t know 2% 2% 4% 2% 1%

Of those who report a negative impact on mental health, the most commonly reported effects of social media use are:

  1. comparing yourself unfavorably with others;
  2. anxiety/psychological distress;
  3. social media fatigue;
  4. insufficient/delayed sleep due to late night usage; and
  5. loneliness or isolation.

References:

1 Statistics Canada, "Canadians’ assessments of social media in their lives," 24 March 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/36-28-0001/2021003/article/00004-eng.htm. [Accessed 20 July 2023].

Mental Health Disorders - EOHU Region

A mental disorder or condition is characterized by a clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotional regulation, or behaviour. There are several different types of mental health disorders. While effective prevention and treatment options exist, many individuals with mental health disorders do not have access to effective care. Many individuals living with a mental disorder also experience stigma, prejudice, discrimination, and other barriers and challenges.1

This summary describes self-reported mental health disorders across the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region and sub-regions: the City of Cornwall (Cornwall), the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry (UCSDG), the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) excluding the Town of Hawkesbury (Hawkesbury) which is presented separately.

Mental Health Disorders

When asked if they have any emotional, psychological, or mental health disorder, most EOHU residents (81%) report that they do not, while 19% report that they do have an emotional, psychological, or mental health disorder (15% diagnosed and 4% undiagnosed). As shown in Table 1, the prevalence of residents reporting no mental health disorder is highest in UCPR (86%) and UCSDG (85%) compared to other sub-regions. However, the prevalence of self-reported mental health disorders is notably higher in Cornwall (29%) compared to the EOHU region and all other sub-regions.

Table 1: Percentage (%) of residents self-reporting on the presence of an emotional, psychological, or mental health disorder, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
Yes, diagnosed 15% 22% 19% 11% 12%
Yes, undiagnosed 4% 7% 4% 3% 3%
No 81% 70% 77% 86% 85%

Of the residents who self-report having a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health disorder within the EOHU region and sub-regions, the three most common mental health disorders reported are:

  1. Anxiety or panic disorder
  2. Depression
  3. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

See Figure 1 for the full breakdown of the self-reported mental health disorders in residents of the EOHU region and sub-region. Other self-reported mental health disorders reported include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a learning disability, schizophrenia, and other disorders. Note that an individual can have more than one mental health disorder.

Figure 1: Percentage (%) and type of diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health disorders, by region, 2022. (Accessible table version of data included below chart.)

Bar chart. Accessible table version of data included below chart.

Percentage (%) and type of diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health disorders, by region, 2022.

EOHU Cornwall Hawkesbury UCPR UCSDG
Anxiety or panic disorder 30% 28% 35% 29% 31%
Depression 28% 27% 26% 29% 30%
PTSD 12% 11% 14% 13% 12%
Bipolar disorder 5% 6% 9% 5% 2%
Obsessive-compulsive disorder 6% 5% 4% 6% 5%
Phobia 3% 4% 2% 3% 3%
Borderline personality disorder 5% 6% 4% 5% 3%
Chronic fatigue syndrome 3% 4% 4% 3% 4%
Substance use disorder 3% 4% 1% 1% 3%
Other 5% 4% 3% 8% 6%

References:

1 World Health Organization, "Mental Disorder," 8 June 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-disorders. [Accessed 20 July 2023].

For more information:

About mental health (Canada.ca)
Promoting positive mental health (Canada.ca)
The Mental Health Continuum Self-Check
Fast Facts about Mental Health and Mental Illness
Mental Health Promotion Guideline, 2018