Rates of Depression and Anxiety Rising in Ontario Young Adults

Findings released recently in the Monitor survey published by the Centre For Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) revealed interesting facts about the mental health of young adults in Ontario. The latest findings, from 2011, come from the reports of more than 3000 adults in the province.

While the survey looked at the entire adult age range, the findings suggest that the group between the ages of 18 and 29 years may be struggling the most. For example, this group reported experiencing greater psychological distress than any other age group in the weeks just before the survey. And, while all age groups showed a trend of increased use of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications over time, this group had the greatest increase (see table below).

RATES OF MEDICATION USE AMONG 18 – 29 YEAR OLD ADULTS

1997

2011

Percentage Increase

Anti-Depressant Medications

2.0%

7.2%

360%

Anti-Anxiety Medications

1.7%

5.8%

341%

Unfortunately, statistics can’t tell us why young adults are reporting more distress or taking medications to cope so much more often. It may be that the stigma around acknowledging our feelings is decreasing and young people feel more comfortable telling it like it is, but it might also be that life just feels tougher, especially for this group, which is facing higher costs for post-secondary education and fewer job prospects than the generations who came before them.

Medications are only one option for treating depression, anxiety and stress. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is another and has been shown to be as or more effective than medication, especially when it comes to preventing relapse. CBT teaches skills to help manage depression and anxiety, like learning how to become more aware of and challenge ‘invisible’ thought patterns that can lead to feelings of hopelessness and being overwhelmed. CBT also helps people learn how to go about the process of changing behaviour to make their efforts at coping more effective.

 

 

 

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Shift Cognitive Therapy Oakville is a psychology practice that helps people learn to manage anxiety, stress and depression.