• The economic value provided by family caregivers is enormous. It is estimated that help given to seniors
alone saves the public system over $5 billion per year which is equivalent to the work of over 276,500
full time employees.
• According to a Health Canada study conducted in 2002, caregivers are most likely to feel stressed in terms of
their emotional health, with close to eight in ten reporting that caregiving has resulted in significant (29%) or
some (48%) emotional difficulties for themselves.
• Approximately 30% of informal caregivers work outside the home. Over one million working Canadians take
care of a person diagnosed with a mental illness. Of these, one-third report that it interferes with their paid job
due to chronic health problems, depression and excess stress when the burden of work or caregiving increases.
• A 1999 Health Canada report estimates that employees juggling work and family demands cost Canadian
employers at least $2.7 billion a year in absenteeism, and the health care system approximately $425.8 million
for physicians’ visits.
• Although the male caregiver population is growing, over 75% of informal caregivers are women, mostly wives
and daughters. Many belong to the growing “sandwich generation”, caring for young families at the same time
as they care for elderly infirm parents. Due to the enormity and complexity of the task, caregivers of older people
have higher than average rates of clinical depression.
• Family members caring for those with serious and persistent mental illness tend to find themselves becoming a
nurse/counselor/advocate/crisis worker/home-care and income provider all rolled into one. In the not so distant
future, ageing parents will no longer be able to carry on their active caregiving roles, leading to increased rates
of relapse and need for acute crisis care.
Caregiver Support and Mental Health
CITIZENS FOR MENTAL HEALTH
SCOPE OF THE ISSUE
At present, a national home and community care prog