One in four Winnipeggers have mood or anxiety disorder: report

Every day is the worst day of his life.


That’s how Winnipegger Michael Jordan describes his outlook during a depressive episode.

“Sometimes I just wake up and stare at the ceiling and just don’t want to get up,” Jordan said. “It’s just a crushing sadness that you have for no reason.”

The 23-year-old was diagnosed with bipolar disorder three years ago but believes he’s suffered from it for at least a decade. Now, he speaks on behalf of the Canadian Mental Health Association Winnipeg to help others dealing with mental illness.

A new report indicates Jordan is far from alone. Nearly one-quarter of all Winnipeggers were diagnosed with a mood or anxiety disorder during the past five years, according to the latest Peg Indicator Report released by The United Way on Monday.

The report states 24.4% of those living in the city were diagnosed with these disorders, which include depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders and others, between 2007/08 and 2011/12.

Those affected with mood or anxiety disorders have more trouble finding and keeping jobs, are at higher risk of chronic physical ailments and are twice as likely to become victims of crime, the report states.

Once diagnosed, these one-in-four Winnipeggers may also face challenges in finding the help they need. Jordan said he’s been waiting for a psychiatrist for eight months so far, with no end in sight.

Tara Brousseau Snider, executive director of the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba, said the health-care system must grow to meet the need.

“We have a long way to go to reach appropriate mental-health funding,” Brousseau Snider said.

Manitoba currently devotes about 5% to 7% of its budget to mental illness, while the World Health Organization estimates about 11% of a health budget should be devoted to the issue, she added.

The study’s lead researcher said mood and anxiety disorders are far more common than most physical ailments. Heart disease, for example, affects only about 8% of Winnipeggers.

“Everyone knows someone who has cancer but we may know three or four people that have depression and we’re not aware of it,” said Dr. Randy Fransoo, a Manitoba Centre for Health Policy researcher. “It’s very common and lots of people probably would benefit from more or better treatment.”

The local rate of those diagnosed with the disorders has stabilized over the past decade and varies from 18% to 27% in different areas of the city, Fransoo said. Point Douglas had the highest proportion of mood disorder diagnoses at 27.4%, while Inkster had the lowest at 18.3%.

Findings are based on anonymous data collected from physicians, hospitalizations, and drug prescription drugs for individuals of ages 10 and up.

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