mental health canada

Half of Canadians say their mental health is getting worse

The global pandemic currently unfolding and wreaking havoc around the world has had many negative impacts on individuals, and deteriorating mental health is likely one of the most common.

A new COVID-19 Impact Index from the Angus Reid Institute paints a picture of how many Canadians have been affected by mental health issues, financial issues or both since the pandemic began— and the results are striking.

According to the study, half of Canadians (50 per cent) report worsening mental health since the outbreak began. Meanwhile, one-in-ten (10 per cent overall) people say it has worsened "a lot."

"The combination of deteriorating mental health and ongoing financial troubles at the household level creates a portrait of how the nation is faring through the crisis," the study notes. 

"Canadians fall into four main categories as part of the Angus Reid Institute’s COVID-19 Impact Index: those who are Managing Well mentally and financially, those who are Mentally Struggling, or Financially Struggling, and those who are Hardest Hit, feeling the effects of both factors worse than anyone else."

Approximately 26 per cent of the population falls into the "Hardest Hit" category, meaning they're experiencing both significant mental health and financial struggles. Another 24 per cent of the population says they're mentally struggling, while 16 per cent are financially struggling and 34 per cent say they're managing well. 

Meanwhile, about 24 per cent of people in the "Hardest Hit" category say their relationships at home have suffered since the outbreak began, compared to just six per cent of those in the "Managing Well" group.

mental health canada

The four main categories of the COVID-19 Impact Index. Infographic by Angus Reid Institute

When participants of the study were asked to describe how they've been feeling in recent weeks, Canadians were most likely to say they were worried (44 per cent), anxious (41 per cent) and bored (30 per cent), although one-third (34 per cent) of people also say they are "grateful."

"This likely speaks to the overwhelming praise Canadians have offered for their public health officials and front-line workers," the index acknowledges. 

The study also notes that "mental health effects are widespread and common among every age and gender combination."

But while the extent of mental and financial struggles does vary among the Canadian population, three-quarters of Canadians in each group agree that it is too soon to begin lifting restrictions on businesses and public gatherings in their province.

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