This report illustrates that Torontonians experience a different city depending on where they live, work and play. While the risk factors and indicators identified in this report each have an independent impact on mental health, they often overlap geographically. Some neighbourhoods in Toronto are facing multiple stressors at once, suggesting that they may face increased risks to their mental health.
Mental well-being, common mental disorders, and psychosis are driven by a range of social, economic and physical stressors. Although living in cities can be stressful, they can also provide stimulating and supportive environments that promote mental health. Many Toronto residents are living in environments that are safe, economically secure, and socially vibrant. The challenge now is to strengthen neighbourhoods that are facing substantial stressors, so all residents can live in environments where they can truly thrive. Reducing inequities across the city is an important and necessary step towards improving mental health and understanding the stressors that are impacting residents can help to prioritize local interventions to address these underlying stressors.
This work is a starting point for a broader conversation about mental health in Toronto. Future Wellesley Institute research will explore additional determinants of mental health, such as social support and built environment, to identify inequities and highlight opportunities for action. This work can support evidence-informed action towards better mental health in the city.