There is new evidence that childhood experiences of violence are common among Quebecois and impact on adult mental health.
A recent study from the Institut de la statistique du Québec used data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey to look at rates of experience of violence before age 16 and considered how this experience impacts health. The study found that more than one in four people in Quebec have some experience of violence before age 16. Such example include witnessing violence between adults (over age 18) in their own home; experiencing an act of physical violence such as pushing, biting, kicking and a number of forms by an adult; and sexual violence. The study found that women (16 percent) were more likely than men (seven percent) to experience sexual violence before age 16, while men (25 percent) were more likely to experience physical violence than women (17 percent).
In addition, the study found that people who had these experiences of violence were more likely to experience mental health or substance use issues including depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and dependency on alcohol, cannabis, or other substances; suicidal ideation; and suicide attempts as an adult.
This work aligns with CMHA Ontario’s understanding of the social determinants of mental health, which highlights that experiences of discrimination and violence significant impact on the mental health of individuals and communities.