Mr. Speaker, this week is Mental Illness Awareness Week. Millions of Canadians suffer with mental health issues. On top of that, they must also deal with the stigma associated with mental health. Nearly six million Canadians are likely to experience some mental illness in their lifetime.
About 4,000 Canadians commit suicide each year and it is the most common cause of death for youth aged 15 to 24. Some communities in rural and remote areas of Canada have rates of suicide and addiction that are among the highest worldwide; many of these are aboriginal and Inuit communities.
There are significant gaps in service. Two-thirds of homeless people using urban shelters suffer from some form of mental illness. By 2020, it is estimated that depressive illnesses will become the second leading cause of disease burden worldwide and the leading cause in developed countries like Canada.
The economic and human costs of mental illness are mounting, yet less than 4% of medical research funding goes to mental illness research. We need to do more and we need to do it sooner.