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Those with experience regarding mental illness more likely to view it as a disability: survey

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Those with experience regarding mental illness more likely to view it as a disability: survey

With all the doom and gloom associated with the pandemic, it should come as no surprise that many Canadians have been struggling with their mental health during the last few months.

A recent survey found those with first-hand experience with mental illness are more likely to view it as a disability.

According to the findings, 51 per cent of Canadians view issues such as depression and anxiety as a disability.

However, this number was higher among people who have had to take time off for work for a disability—59 per cent—compared to just 39 per cent of those who have never had to do so, nor know anyone who has.

“Diagnosed depression and anxiety can indeed be debilitating, but the findings show that most of us don’t truly understand the impact of something until we’ve experienced it ourselves,” Maria Winslow, senior director for Life & Health with RBC Insurance, said in a news release.

“There is still a large portion of Canadians who do not consider the sometimes ‘invisible’ ailments of depression and anxiety as disabilities, yet, mental illness causes the majority of disability claims at RBC Insurance,” she continued.

Additionally, based on the results, the stigma surrounding mental illness appears to be waning, as 77 per cent of respondents said they would be comfortable with the idea of disclosing a mental illness—a four-per-cent increase from last year’s results.

Once again, the number is higher among people who have had to take time off due to a disability—80 per cent of such respondents said they would be comfortable disclosing a mental illness, compared to just 72 per cent of those who have not.

Those who said they would feel reluctant to disclose a mental illness said they felt this way due to concerns over their privacy, fear of being treated differently, and the stigma associated with mental illness.

Fortunately, however, Canadians are recognizing the toll that refraining from disclosing such an illness takes on themselves and the people around them.

Seventy per cent of respondents believe it would have a negative impact on their own personal wellbeing, while 66 per cent believe it would have a negative impact on their friends and families.

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