(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

CP’s proposed logistics park would be in the fields just across the tracks from its intermodal yard in Pitt Meadows. (Google)
Pitt Meadows wants higher tax rate for CP Rail

Councillors decry a rate that equates railway to a dentist’s office

Almost every health region in the province saw an increase in overdose calls last year. (Blackpress files)
Overdose call numbers reach five-year-high in Maple Ridge.

BC Emergency Health Services responded to almost 500 local calls in 2020

Cam Blake released his first album called <em>Bad Vacation</em> on Jan. 15. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge musician releases first album

Cam Blake’s first album, Bad Vacation, released Jan. 15

Members of the Maple Ridge Disc Golf Club team up to update the “frolf” course at Thornhill Park. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge Disc Golf Club helps upgrade local course

Thornhill Park frisbee links usage has skyrocketed since pandemic

Cody Malawsky at the box lacrosse provincials in 2019. As the highly skilled player adds size he will dominate junior, predicts longtime coach Daren Fridge. (Tim McCormick/Special to The News)
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch man, 94, facing unwanted trip home can stay in B.C. with wife of 45 years

Immigration offices cuts red tape so couple of 45 years can stay together in Victoria area

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read