Printer icon Print Page

Unmet Mental Health Care Needs Costing Canadian Economy Billions

Ottawa, September 1, 2016—Depression and anxiety cost the Canadian economy at least $32.3 billion a year and $17.3 billion a year, respectively, in foregone GDP due to lost productivity, according to a new report from The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care.

“A large proportion of working Canadians have unmet mental health care needs that prevent them from performing to their utmost and our report shows this has serious consequences for the Canadian economy,” said Louis Thériault, Vice-President, Public Policy, The Conference Board of Canada. “Improving treatment of mental illness among working Canadians would offer significant benefits for individuals, businesses, society and the economy.”

Highlights

  • Depression and anxiety cost the Canadian economy at least $32.3 billion a year and $17.3 billion a year, respectively.
  • A large proportion of working Canadians have unmet mental health care needs that prevent them from working full-time or part-time.
  • Almost a quarter of Canadians living with a mental illness are unable to work because of their symptoms.
  • Employers can improve the treatment of anxiety and/or depression among employed Canadians by facilitating access to evidence-based benefits, programs and supports.

In Canada, it is estimated that mental illness can affect workplace functioning. If all employees living with depression/anxiety had access to better treatments and supports, then workplace functioning would improve significantly. Mental illness can also prevent some people from entering the workforce. If all these Canadians had access to better treatments and supports, the economy may see up to 352,000 Canadians with depression/anxiety enter the workforce as fully functional employees each year until 2035. Taken together, this could potentially boost Canada’s economy by up to $32.3 billion a year from improved treatment of depression and $17.3 billion a year from anxiety treatment.

Employees in services-producing industries feel they have the greatest need for mental health care. About 2.5 million employees in the services sector feel some sort of mental health care is required. Industries that have the highest proportion of employees with unmet mental health needs, include:

  • administrative support and waste management (44.4 per cent)
  • accommodation and food services (43.8 per cent); and
  • professional, and scientific and technical services (42.9 per cent).

Organizations can improve the treatment of anxiety and/or depression among employed Canadians by facilitating access to evidence-based benefits, programs and supports. Improved prevention strategies, both for new and recurrent onset of mental illness are also needed, along with effective return to work programs.

Healthy Brains At Work: Estimating the Impact of Workplace Mental Health Benefits and Programs is the third of a four-part series that explores the importance of addressing mental health and mental illnesses in Canadian workplaces.

This research was made possible through the financial support of Lundbeck Canada, Sun Life Financial, SCM Health Solutions, The Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network, the Mood Disorders Society of Canada and The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care (CASHC).


For more information contact

Corporate Communications
613-526-3280
corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca


Monthly Newsletter

Get updates about Conference Board research and events by signing up for our monthly newsletter.
 
 
 

RSS Feed

RSS Feed  Subscribe to the Conference Board’s News Release RSS Feed

Access Our Research

Access to The Conference Board’s reports is free of charge to professional journalists upon request.

Access Our Experts

We have a team of experienced researchers and economists who are able to comment on current events or share their expertise for news features.


Recent News Releases

Calgary and Edmonton Sweep Top Spots in Economic Growth in 2017

October 17, 2017

Slow and Stable Growth for Halifax Economy in 2017; Stronger Growth Awaits in 2018

October 17, 2017

Solid Growth Forecast for Prairie Cities in 2017

October 17, 2017


Recent Speeches and Op-Eds

Three different dimensions of disruption

October 18, 2017

What immigration target should Ottawa set for 2018?

October 05, 2017

Three challenges facing Alberta amid the province’s new economic reality

September 28, 2017


Connect with Us