Just over one-in-ten youth aged 15 to 24 years have been diagnosed with a mood disorder. That proportion is slightly higher for Canadian-born youth (13%) than immigrant youth (11%).1
1Depression in Children and Youth. Caring for Kids New to Canada: A Guide for Health Professionals Working with Immigrant and Refugee Children and Youth. http://www.kidsnewtocanada.ca/mental-health/depression
The causes of mood disorders in youth are complex – including factors relating to biology, genetics, social and psychological influences. These are compounded by the experiences of immigrant youth, which can include the loss of family and friends, language barriers, discrimination, difficult relationships with the schools, and the quality of the neighbourhood in which the children, youth and families live.1 Certain factors can protect young people from suffering with mood disorders – such as living in stable families, living in safe neighbourhoods and having support from a community of their peers.1 It is important that health care providers recognize cultural barriers that might preclude immigrant children and youth and their families from recognizing and seeking help for mood disorders.