The Mental Health of Youth – Some Seek Help, Others Don’t

Montréal, June 14, 2017. – The Institut de la statistique du Québec published today the most recent edition of Zoom santé which presents a study of 15-29 year-olds who seek or don’t seek professional or informal help for their mental health problem.

Youth are more vulnerable with regards to mental health

The study shows that young people 15 to 29 years old were more likely than those 30 to 64 years old to experience a high level of psychological distress (25% vs. 20%) and disorders related to alcohol consumption and drug use (10% vs. 2.3%).

Youth rarely consult medical or other professionals regarding a mental problem

Ten percent of young people saw or talked to a medical or other professional about their emotions, mental health or alcohol consumption or drug use. Compared to older populations, they had a lower tendency to consult a medical doctor for these types of problems. However, they seemed to have a greater tendency to seek the services of a social worker, counsellor or psychotherapist.

With regards to youth experiencing a high level of psychological distress or a substance disorder, 63% and 77% respectively did not consult any medical or other professional.

Non-professional, informal help is more popular among youth

Compared to their older counterparts, youth were more likely to seek informal help to talk about their mental health. They were more likely to confide in their friends (75% vs. 57%). However, they were less likely to use the internet to obtain information on mental health.

Nearly 50% of youth presenting psychological distress or a disorder related to alcohol consumption or drug use did not seek informal help from any source.

This study was carried out using data from the Canadian Community Health Survey – Mental Health conducted in 2012 by Statistics Canada.


The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for carrying out all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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