The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has released a snapshot of the state of mental health in Eastern Ontario.
The snapshot aims to identify a baseline for future mental health promotion and surveillance efforts by the EOHU and local community partners. The report is based on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Positive Mental Health Surveillance Framework, which provides a structure to measure mental health using 25 different indicators.
“Mental health is a priority for our region. This report represents a call to action for all of our community partners to continue working together on mental health promotion,” states Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health.
“Multiple committees and agencies will benefit from this data as we work together with our population to increase protective factors for positive mental health.” He adds that the EOHU is working with community partners to launch a life promotion and mental health awareness campaign over the next few months, with the aim of promoting resiliency and mental wellbeing.
In the report, the EOHU’s catchment area scored about the same as the rest of Ontario in most indicators such as life satisfaction and social well-being, however there are a few notable exceptions compared to the province overall:
Rate of Self-Injury
The region’s population has a higher rate of individuals who harm themselves intentionally than the rest of Ontario. This can be seen in the number of individuals per 100,000 population who were admitted to hospital Emergency Departments due to intentional self-harm. While 155 individuals were admitted in Ontario, 206 individuals were admitted in Eastern Ontario in 2017.
Women are particularly at risk for self-injury in Eastern Ontario, where 316 individuals per 100,000 population were admitted to Emergency Departments for self-harm in 2017, compared to 205 in Ontario.
Alcohol and Tobacco Use
The report also revealed that the EOHU’s catchment area has higher rates of heavy drinkers and tobacco users than the rest of Ontario.
While 44% of the population aged 19 and older self-reported exceeding the number of drinks set out in the low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines in Ontario, the number goes up to 48% in Eastern Ontario.
The case is much the same when it comes to tobacco use. While just under 12% of the population aged 12 and over reported being a current smoker in Ontario, that number rises to over 16% in Eastern Ontario.
For positive mental health determinants, such as self-rated mental health, life satisfaction and social well-being, Eastern Ontario residents rated themselves about the same as residents across Ontario. In Ontario, 71.1% (70.8 for EOHU) of the population aged 12 and over reported perceiving their own mental health status as being excellent or very good.
In Ontario, 92.6 per cent (91.2%) of residents aged 12 and over reported being very satisfied or very satisfied with their life in general. When it comes to social well-being, 70.9 per cent of Ontarians (71.6% EOHU) reported their sense of belonging to their local community described as being very strong or somewhat strong.
To understand more about how mental health is affecting the population in Eastern Ontario, read the “Mental Health in Eastern Ontario” report, which identifies the current state of mental health in the region. The report is available at https://eohu.ca/en/health-statistics-and-surveillance-reports.