One in Nine Ottawa Students considered suicide last year

More than 1,300 Ottawa students in Grades 7 to 12 attempted suicide in the past year.

That’s one of the findings in the Status of Mental Health in Ottawa report published by Ottawa Public Health Monday afternoon.

The report also shows one in nine students said they seriously considered suicide in the past year. 60 per cent of those students said they had wanted to talk to someone but did not know where to turn.

Social media use is one of the reasons Ottawa Public Health is looking at the status of mental health in Ottawa.  In 2017, 85 per cent of Ottawa students reported using social media sites daily, and 17 per cent of students reported using those sites for more than five hours every day.

Benjamin Leikin of Ottawa Public Health tells CTV News “we saw that those youth who are on social media use for two hours or more each day had higher rates of poor mental health, and higher rates of suicide ideation.”

There is an average of 80 suicide deaths in Ottawa a year.

The Ottawa Public Health report shows 16 per cent of Ottawa residents and 30 per cent of grade 7 to 12 students talked to a health professional about their mental or emotional health in the past year.  The number of Ottawa residents hospitalized for mental health or addictions increased 45 per cent from 2007 to 2016.

Overall, 69 per cent of Ottawa residents said their mental health was “very good” or “excellent,” and 91 per cent said they were satisfied with their life.