Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal
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Ask the expert

Can you say why depression will be so prevalent in 2020?

It has to do with the environment. People are getting displaced more significantly than they were in the past and, in addition, they are getting displaced to places where they don’t have friends or family near them.

According to scientist Michael Meaney, the reason why we think our life is more stressful than our parents’ and grandparents’ lives is the lack of extended families.

Also the issues surrounding recent geopolitical turmoil could contribute to a higher rate of depression over the next ten years.

-Joseph Rochford, PhD, Mini-Psych School 2009

Are the statistics for depression different for children who come from immigrant families?

We know that this population has been through a lot of different life stressors, so these children are at a high risk. The expression of symptoms may be different in different communities, and just being exposed to very severe traumatic experiences increases the risk if someone comes from this type of population. The expression of depressive symptoms can be different; for example, at one point in China, more women than men in the rural areas successfully carried out suicide. The method used can therefore change statistics, as this population had access to very dangerous and extremely lethal pesticides. So the number of attempts may be similar to what we see in North America, but the lethality of the means made the actual number of suicides higher. Now that these pesticides have been banned, there has been a decreased rate of suicide in the population. This means that statistics can sometimes be cultural but can also be related to access to different means.
-Johanne Renaud, MD, Mini-Psych School 2012

We often hear that Quebec has the highest suicide rate in North America. Is this true?

We do have one of the highest rates of suicide, but this is also true of Switzerland and France. A lot of northern countries seem to have a high suicide rate. However, some countries do not report the information in the same way, and even across Canada, the data is not always reported consistently. One of the hypotheses is that French Canadians tend to marry more within their own culture, so there could be a higher risk of mood disorders, and therefore a greater risk of suicide, that is genetically based.
-Johanne Renaud, MD, Mini-Psych School 2012

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