Every year, schizophrenia disrupts the lives of thousands of Canadians. Affecting approximately 1% of the population, this complex, multifaceted illness places a disproportionate strain on patients, families, clinicians and other care providers. Symptoms, which vary in severity and manifestation, can make it extremely difficult for patients to sustain relationships, engage in social activities, or carry out routine tasks.

The economic implications of schizophrenia are equally severe. Patients experience a combination of debilitating symptoms that make them more vulnerable to unemployment, discrimination, social isolation, homelessness, and suicide than other Canadians. Our new report, Schizophrenia in Canada: The social and economic case for a collaborative model of care, shows that the billions of dollars the government spends each year, directly or indirectly, on schizophrenia is straining our country’s healthcare, social services and criminal justice systems.

Through a more coordinated, multi-sector approach, it may be possible to enhance care, improve health outcomes and reduce the burdens of schizophrenia on our society and economy. We trust that the findings of our research will help initiate a broader discussion among patients, families, clinicians, care providers, patient advocacy groups, decision-makers, and the general public that moves Canada towards better mental health practices and policies. 

Back to top