Depression and suicidal ideation among Canadians aged 15-24.
Background: Among Canadians aged 15 to 24, the rate of depression is higher than at any other age, and suicide is the second leading cause of death. The current study provides detailed information about depression and suicidal ideation among young Canadians, including their use of mental health support. Data and methods: Data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey–Mental Health (CCHS–MH) were used to describe rates and experiences of depression and suicidal ideation among Canadians aged 15 to 24, including psychosocial characteristics of those who had depression or reported suicidal thoughts. Characteristics associated with seeking professional support were also examined.
Results: About 11% of Canadians aged 15 to 24 had experienced depression in their lifetime; 7%, in the past year. Approximately 14% reported having had suicidal thoughts in their lifetime; 6%, in the past year. Lifetime depression and suicidal thoughts were moderately correlated (r = .34, p < .001). Individuals with lifetime depression had more than four times the odds of seeking professional support in the previous year, compared with those who did not have lifetime depression; those with lifetime suicidal thoughts had more than three times the odds of seeking professional support, compared with those who did not have lifetime suicidal thoughts. Psychosocial factors such as negative social interactions and lower perceived ability to deal with stress were associated with depression and suicidal thoughts, although these associations differed for males and females.
Interpretation: The findings suggest that many young Canadians have depression and/or suicidal thoughts. Their odds of seeking professional support are significantly high.