(Pixabay)

(Pixabay)

Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

A national study has found that 40 per cent of Canadians have seen their mental health deteriorate since the pandemic began this spring.

The study, a partnership between the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and University of B.C. researchers, found that 42 per cent of British Columbians saw their mental health deteriorate since the spring.

That number was highest in Ontario with 44 per cent and lowest in Quebec at 32 per cent. Alberta came in at 40 per cent.

Nationwide, the most common emotional response to COVID-19 was anxiety and worry at 48 per cent overall, in B.C. and 42 per cent in Alberta.

Stress was second at 38 per cent nationwide, while sadness was third at 25 per cent. Only nine per cent of those surveyed said they felt content.

The most common fear when it came to the virus was the possibility of a second wave, which has become reality across Canada. Just over half of respondents, 58 per cent and 55 per cent, respectively, were worried about a loved one dying or contracting the virus themselves.

Researchers found that 54 per cent of people were concerned about being separated from family and friends while 51 per cent were worried about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Finances came in at 39 per cent, with job loss at 26 per cent. About 20 per cent of people worried about having enough food for their family, while 10 per cent were concerned about domestic violence.

Worries about financial issues were more common among lower income earners; 51 per cent of households with an income below $25,000 worried about money, compared to 39 per cent overall.

How did Canadians cope?

Canadians came up with a variety of both healthy and unhealthy ways to cope with the pandemic-induced stress. One-third of people said they connected in person with people in their pandemic bubbles, while 15 per cent said they had supportive employers who helped them cope.

Across the country, 54 per cent of people were exercising more outdoors and 36 per cent connected virtually with friends.

On the flip side, 17 per cent increased substance use as a way to cope. Broken down, 20 per cent increased alcohol use, nine per cent increased cannabis use and seven per cent increased the use of prescription medication.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusmental health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson kneels as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED: Vancouver Island paddle boarder’s orca encounter brings joy and outrage

Woman’s ‘best day’ criticized for disturbing the whales

Tofino’s library is currently located in the basement of the Tofino Legion building but talks are underway to build a brand new facility. (Andrew Bailey photo)
The District of Tofino has put new restrictions in place around alcohol at public events. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino puts new restrictions on alcohol at public events

Town’s council adopts Municipal Alcohol Policy.

Gord John stands during question period in Ottawa in Sept. 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIAN DIOTTE, HOUSE OF COMMONS PHOTO SERVICES)
2020: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

NDP MP wants to ‘build back better’ in 2021

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)
Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

Most Read