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Introduction

This report is a special issue of Hamilton Vital Signs. Over the past decade, Hamilton Vital Signs has examined trends across a number of themes that affect quality of life and well-being in our city. In this special issue, we focus on mental health and addiction in Hamilton. Where possible, we compare changes over time, where we stand relative to the provincial and national averages, and differences between genders. Each section of the report begins with a summary of key findings, followed by detailed information on each of the theme areas and its indicators.

Download the executive summary report.

Key Findings

Mental Health in Hamilton

  • Over two-thirds of Hamiltonians report very good or excellent mental health.  Young adults report very good or excellent mental health more often than other age groups, while Hamiltonians aged 50-64 are more likely than other age groups to report having only fair or poor mental health.
  • The percentage of Hamiltonians diagnosed with a mood disorder is higher than the provincial average.
  • The percentages of Hamilton senior kindergarten children who are vulnerable on emotional maturity is increasing.
  • The number of emergency room visits for self-harm is rising.
  • The overall number of emergency room visits and the number of hospitalizations for issues related to mental health are on the rise.

Key Findings

Addiction in Hamilton

  • Fewer than half of Hamiltonians exceeded Health Canada’s Low Risk Guidelines for consuming alcohol, similar to the provincial average.
  • The percentage of daily smokers in Hamilton has decreased substantially over the past decade, and the percentage of youth who are not even trying smoking is rising.
  • Emergency room visits for substance use have risen over the past eight years — most notably for opioids — and opioid deaths have escalated dramatically.
  • The percentage of youth spending more than five hours a day on social media is increasing.
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