Hospitalizations for youth mental health concerns steady in Manitoba, says new data

The number of Manitoban youth and children visiting ERs for mental health concerns is holding relatively steady. File / Global News

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) has released data indicating hospitalizations and emergency department visits for Canadian youth with mental health concerns are up dramatically over the past decade.

But in Manitoba, the number of children and young people between age five and 24 being hospitalized for mental disorders is holding steady in recent years.

Between 2006-2007 and 2017-2018, there was a 75 per cent increase in visits to the emergency room for youth mental health concerns across the country.

There was also a 65 per cent increase in hospitalization of young people to treat their mental health nationwide.

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Meanwhile, the number of Canadian youth going to the ER for other medical problems dropped by nearly a quarter.

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For Manitoba children and young adults, the rate of hospitalization has remained virtually the same for the last three years.


Over the past dozen years, that is an increase of about 23 per cent in the hospitalization rate — much lower than the national average of 65 per cent over the same time period.

In comparison, the number of youth hospitalized in Saskatchewan essentially doubled over a dozen years, with 1,058 young people hospitalized for mental health in 2006-2007, reaching 2,088 in 2017-2018.

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The majority — 776 — of the 1,246 Manitoban youth who stayed in hospital for treatment last year were between age 18 and 24.

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Female patients were disproportionately represented, accounting for 732 of the hospitalizations last year.

The average length of stay was eight days, with treatment for mood disorders listed as the most common reason for hospitalization. Schizophrenic and psychotic disorders were listed as the second most frequent presentation, followed by other disorders like eating disorders and substance-related disorders.

The CIHI report also indicates while there has been an increase in the number of young people going to hospital to seek treatment for their mental health, the rate of Canadian youth being diagnosed with mental health disorders is unchanged.

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