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Getting help 

One in five people in Canada (more than six million people) will have a mental health problem during their lifetime.

Similarly, many Canadians have difficulties with substance use: one in seven people aged 15 and older (about 3.5 million people) has alcohol-related problems; one in 20 (about 1.5 million people) have cannabis-related concerns; some have problems with cocaine, speed (amphetamines, such as methamphetamine), ecstasy (and other hallucinogens), heroin and other illegal drugs; and some have problems with inhalants or with prescription medications.

Some Canadians have problems with gambling, gaming and, increasingly, Internet use.

And some Canadians have both a mental health and a substance use problem, commonly referred to as concurrent disorders or co-occurring disorders.

But most people with addiction and/or mental health problems do not seek help. Some people may not know they have a problem. Or they may not know that help is available. Some may not be able to use the help because of barriers such as cost, language and transportation.

Others don’t seek help because of the stigma (prejudice and discrimination) attached to mental health and addiction problems. They feel embarrassed or ashamed. They worry that they will be judged and misunderstood. They worry about being discriminated against.

However, there are services that can help. And the earlier someone gets help, the less chance that the problem will come back or get worse.

  • Challenges & Choices: Finding Mental Health Services in Ontario
    This resource is under review and is currently unavailable online.
    People looking for services for themselves or for a family member, partner or friend can find the mental health system confusing, frustrating, scary – and difficult.
    This book gives practical information about mental health services in Ontario and how to find them. Content includes information about getting an assessment, types of therapists, types of therapy, natural healing, medical services, supports, getting well and staying well, help for families and understanding one’s rights.
  • Looking for Mental Health Services? What You Need to Know
    This brochure provides general information about mental health and mental health services. It is for people who are looking for help for the first time, either for themselves or for a family member or friend.
  • Navigating Mental Health Services in Toronto: A Guide for Newcomer Communities (PDF only)
    This guide is for newcomers living in the Toronto area, but most of the content will also be useful for newcomers living in other parts of Canada. The guide provides information on the causes and types of mental health problems, treatment options, and services and supports.
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