Canadian millennials hit hardest by mental health woes: poll

More than half of Canada’s Millennials are at a high risk of developing a mental health issue, according to a new poll released exclusively to Global News. Credit: Photo by Susannah Ireland Photography Ltd/REX

More than half of Canada’s millennials are at a high risk of developing a mental health issue, according to a new poll released exclusively to Global News.

Just days before the start of Mental Health Week, a new Ipsos poll warns that 53 per cent of Canada’s young adults are at risk of grappling with depression and other mental well-being concerns. This group of Canadians had the highest rates of being at risk compared to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

“What’s fascinating is you have young people, particularly the millennial population, who seems to be more at risk than others,” John Wright, senior vice president of Ipsos, told Global News.

“The young people are the ones who are, in fact, feeling it the most at the moment and you pretty well hope that they’re talking more about it because within their own generation of growing up, it’s become part of the dialogue,” Wright said.

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READ MORE: One-third of Canadians at ‘high risk’ for mental health concerns, poll warns

Millennials — or those 18 to 33 years old — are feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders. They may not have kids to feed, mortgages to pay or a minivan, but Canada’s generation of the future is feeling the stress.

Wright pointed to societal issues, such as a low employment rate and rising living costs, as pressures that weigh on millennials.

When asked if they’ve ever felt depressed to the point of feeling hopelessness almost every day for weeks at a time, 15 per cent of all Canadians conceded that this happened to them several times in the past year. Seventeen per cent said it happened to them at least once, too.

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Another 30 per cent of Canadians said that stress was also eating away at their daily lives in the past year. Twenty-two per cent of those polled said it happened at least once.

READ MORE: Millennials facing increased rates of stress compared to other generations

In 17 per cent of Canadians, the stress became so overwhelming they felt like they couldn’t cope or deal with the situation a handful of times throughout the year. Another two in 10 Canadians felt that way at least once.

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The pollsters say respondents were “high risk” for mental health issues if they said they conceded to encountering any of the above scenarios two or three times. Based on that definition, 33 per cent of Canadians are at high risk, while another 26 per cent are at moderate risk and 42 per cent of Canadians are at low risk.

Thirty-five per cent of Gen Xers were classified as high risk, and 14 per cent of baby boomers fell into that category compared to millennials’ 53 per cent.

READ MORE: Stigma keeps youth suffering from mental health issues in the dark

The survey results align with other research that points to a stressful time for millennials.

They’re armed with technology, are highly educated, and were promised a world of career climbing, salaries and stability if they play by life’s rules; get through school and a multitude of extra-curricular activities.

READ MORE: Many boys not reaching out for mental health help

Instead, some millennials are juggling multiple jobs outside their field of study. They’re managing student loan debt while paying bills. In Canada, the debt from student loans is $15 billion dollars, according to the Canadian Federation of Students.

Fifty-two per cent of millennials say their stress is so worrying, it’s kept them up at night, according to the American Psychological Association, which has been measuring stress levels since 2007.

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READ MORE: Stress, anxiety plaguing Canadian youth

Between April 16 and April 20, 2,010 Canadian adults were interviewed online for the survey, which was weighted to bring it in line with Canadian demographics and which has a margin error of 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 had all Canadians been polled.

– With files from Allison Vuchnich, Global News

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911. 911 can send immediate help. Visit for a list of resources.

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos Reid.” This poll was conducted between April 16 and April 20, with a sample of 2,010 Canadians and is accurate to within 2.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

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