Alcohol, tobacco use, self harm higher than provincial average in Eastern Ontario

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By Shawna O'Neill
Alcohol, tobacco use, self harm higher than provincial average in Eastern Ontario
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EASTERN ONTARIO – The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has released a report that indicates rates of self-harm, as well as alcohol and tobacco usage, are higher in the Eastern portion of the province in comparison to overall provincial averages.

Mental health is a priority for our region. This report represents a call to action for all of our community partners to continue working together on mental health promotion,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, EOHU Medical Officer of Health, in a press release. 

In 2017, while 155 individuals were admitted to hospital Emergency Departments due to self harm in Ontario, per 100,000 population, 206 individuals were admitted in Eastern Ontario. Women are noted to be particularly at risk for self-injury in Eastern Ontario, as every 316 per 100,000 were admitted in the same year. 

The report also revealed that while 44 per cent of the provincial population, aged 19 and older, self-reported exceeding the number of drinks set out in the low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines, 48 per cent self-reported this in the EOHU’s catchment area. Similarly, while 12 per cent of the provincial population, aged 12 and over, reported being a current smoker, 16 per cent reported this in Eastern Ontario.

Eastern Ontario’s scores in life satisfaction and social well-being scored in line with the provincial average. The overall report, based on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Positive Mental Health Surveillance Framework, is set to provide a structure to measure mental health by using 25 different indicators. 

“Multiple committees and agencies will benefit from this data as we work together with our population to increase protective factors for positive mental health,” said Dr. Roumeliotis.

Dr. Roumeliotis added that the EOHU is working with community partners to launch a life promotion and mental health awareness campaign, promoting resiliency and mental wellbeing.

The Mental Health in Eastern Ontario report, which identifies the current state of mental health in the region, can be viewed here.

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