‘Dramatic’ increase in opioid addiction and mental health issues according to Hamilton’s Vital Signs report

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The charity organization tapped with driving positive change in Hamilton revealed it’s 2019 study on Wednesday highlighting the impact of mental health and addiction on the city’s population.

The latest Vital Signs report from the Hamilton Community Foundation revealed a growing concern for mental health in youth and an opioid problem they say is at “crisis proportions.”

Mental Health

The foundation says over two-thirds of Hamiltonians reported “very good” or “excellent” mental health, but those numbers dropped as people entered the 35-plus age range.

The happiest group were those between 18 and 34, with 76 per cent reporting good or excellent mental health.

About 28 per cent of Hamiltonians aged between 35 and 49 labeled themselves as having quite a lot of “perceived life stress” while 31 per cent of people in the 50 to 64 age range said the same based on Stats-Can numbers presented in August.

Hospitalizations for most mental health disorders have been rising since 2011. The rate for people over 12 with mood disorders rose from 161 cases for every 100,000 people to 198 cases per 100,000 people, an increase of 23 per cent.

Students

Of concern are the growing numbers related to poor mental health in high school students over the past decade.

Regional data — which includes Hamilton, Niagara, Brant, Haldimand and the Waterloo-Wellington — showed 27 per cent of students in Grades 9 through 12 reported poor mental health which is slightly higher than the Ontario average of 21.5 per cent.

Millenials

The report also drew numbers from a McMaster study focusing on Hamilton millennials (born 1982 through 1997) which said that more than one in four rated their mental health as fair or poor. Millennials with precarious work were three times as likely to report fair to poor mental health.

Two-Spirit and LGBTIQ+

Mental health with members who identify as Two-Spirit and LGBTIQ+ varied. A joint survey with McMaster University, the AIDS Network and researchers who are Two-Spirit and LGBTIQ+ showed 44 per cent of respondents said their happiness level was good or great.