Although population surveys based on standardized questionnaires on mental disorders convey information on prevalence, they cannot provide timely monitoring data on changes in prevalence of mental disorders or their complications. Moreover, they cannot deliver information on links between services offered and utilization that could be used provincially, regionally and locally for mental health prevention planning and service organization.
To overcome this problem, the unité Surveillance des maladies chroniques et de leurs déterminants (USMCD; Chronic Diseases and determinants Surveillance Unit) at the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) was given the mandate to develop and implement a mental disorder surveillance system in Québec.
To shed light on the nature and magnitude of mental disorders in Québec, the USMCD has published this first report on surveillance of mental disorders, for the years 1999–2000 to 2009–2010. The report provides information about the diagnosed prevalence of mental disorders, anxio-depressive disorders and schizophrenic disorders in Québec. It also contains information on mortality associated with mental disorders and utilization of mental health services by people who have these disorders.
To conclude, this report takes a fresh look at people with mental disorders in Québec. It confirms that the prevalence of mental disorders among adults has remained stable in Québec. However, prevalence increased significantly among children and adolescents between 1999 and 2010, although this is probably due to more frequent diagnoses of hyperkinetic disorders. Moreover, this report sheds light on excess mortality among people with mental disorders, regardless of the severity of their mental health problem. Lastly, it emphasizes that family physicians are the health professionals most often consulted by people struggling with common mental health disorders. These findings call for interventions, not only by specialized services but by the health and social services system as a whole, to improve the health of Quebecers with mental disorders.