Canadians mental health worsens


Canadians mental health worsens amid pandemic

Canadians say their mental health is worsening amid fears and global recession given the pandemic. This contemporary crisis is debilitating many economies and pushing thousands on the brink of financial collapse. But it is mental health which is quickly becoming the focus, as people start suffering from depression and apathy.

Hence, the Anguis Reid Institute started researching on the adverse effects of the global pandemic for Canadians. This endeavour resulted in a new COVID-19 Impact Index, painting a clear picture of disaster. Also, the research shows striking results when it comes to just how many Canadians are aware of mental problems.

As shown in the picture above, half of Canadians (50 per cent) say their mental health has worsened since the shutdown began. One-in-ten people add also that their health has worsened ‘a lot’.

The COVID-19 Impact Index

Moreover, over 26% of the respondents falls into the ‘Hardest Hit’ category. This means, for instance, that they are currently experience both mental and financial struggles because of COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: Angus Reid Institute.

Only 34 per cent of Canadians say they are ‘managing well’ since the start of the outbreak. Interesting fact is that this group tends to be older (55 or more in age) and usually male. The remaining 30 per cent either have mainly financial (16%) or mental (24%) hardships to overcome. Among those belonging to the ‘Managing Well’, those with an income of less than $25,000 a year are the least likely to be represented. This meaning, of course, that the crisis is afflicting the small to medium-sized income families the most.

The report states: “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”. It also goes without saying that age and gender, while different factors on their own right, do not seem to significantly alter the picture. The worsening of mental health impacts every age and gender group, though lowest among men over 55 and highest among women aged between 18 and 54.

Meanwhile, notwithstanding the effect of the pandemic and of lockdown measures the government has decreed to contain and limit the spread, many Canadians still believe it is too early to lift restrictions. Three-quarters of Canadians in each of the four main groups agree that public gatherings and non-essential business activity should be limited until there is clear consensus that the worse is over.

Anxiety and Gratitude: A Lesson From the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Yet one of the most striking findings of this study is how Canadians describe their hardships. 44% of Canadians describe themselves as ‘worried’ about their life. At least 41 per cent uses the word ‘anxious’. And over 30% says they are ‘bored’. Still, among the negative feelings, there are sparks of positivity. 19 per cent feels ‘optimistic’, 6 per cent even ‘happy’. Meanwhile, 14% says they feel ‘normal’, and another 11% feel ‘untroubled’ by the situation.

But it is the 34%, on the third position, which says feels ‘grateful’ for their life. This study shows exactly how, in times of negativity, we start appreciating what we have and hold. It can be the restaurant we used to go and complain about. It can be the family member we used to quarrel with all the time. However, we surely are starting to see the privilege that comes with negativity. Negative feelings are a baggage, and to steer clear from them, we must unload.

Gratitude, interestingly enough, is higher among women. Worry and anxiety are higher among women too, showing how the lack of normalcy brings a deep appreciation and reevaluation of priorities. Surely, the pandemic crisis will be remembered as a tragedy of global proportions. But maybe, just maybe – it could also spark a rediscovered valuing of kindness and commitment. It’s up to us, of course. We must make our own path again, in a more vulnerable, hopefully more selfless world.