(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

Some bystanders with fire extinguishers helped keep the fire under control. Photo courtesy Suzie Thomas
Bystanders keep fire from spreading near McIvor Lake turnoff

‘Just be vigilant and careful,’ says Campbell River fire chief

The Pier Street Farmers Market will once again take up residence on Sundays from May to Septmber at the parking lot across from the Community Centre in downtown Campbell River for 2021. Mirror File Photo
Pier Street Farmers Market returns to Cedar Street parking lot for 2021

…and it’s hoped that the addition of artisans this year will make it even better

Some recommendations from the Downtown Safety Select Committee have been approved by Campbell River City Council, including removing the glass stage covering at Spirit Square. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Council going ahead with removing Spirit Square stage covering

But mayor acknowledges need for ‘welcoming, warm place with support services’

A small fire on North Rendezvous Island is the first wildfire of the season in the Campbell River area. Officials are asking people to take caution when burning during these dry conditions. BC Wildfire Dashboard
‘Conditions are tricky at the moment’ warns Coastal Fire Centre

Small fire on North Rendezvous Island first of the season for Campbell River area

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Most Read