A person stands under an umbrella while looking out at English Bay as heavy rain falls, in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A person stands under an umbrella while looking out at English Bay as heavy rain falls, in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canadians struggling through the pandemic aren’t accessing online resources: study

A national survey led by researchers at UBC says that Canadians aren’t aware of virtual resources

Canadians who are struggling with their mental health during the pandemic aren’t using online resources that can offer support for their well-being, recent research from the University of B.C. has found.

A national survey led by researchers at UBC, with help from the Canadian Mental Health Association, says that Canadians aren’t aware of virtual resources offered to support them with improving their mental health.

Back in May, 65 per cent of 3,000 survey participants reported that they have experienced poor mental health during the pandemic. However, only two per cent reported accessing online mental health resources such as apps, websites, digital tools or other supports not involving direct contact with a mental health care provider.

Researchers found that some people did make more use of online mental health resources than others, but the numbers remained low across the board.

READ MORE: B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Margaret Eaton, Canadian Mental Health Association CEO, said in a statement that since the start of the pandemic, demand for mental health services has been up across the organization’s 330 locations nationwide.

“Online mental health supports are one evidence-based way that we can help people during this unusual, stressful time.”

Forty-two survey participants said they struggled to find resources to help with stress from COVID-19.

Researchers said that online resources work best for those suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression. The survey responses suggest a mere two per cent of Canadians struggling with anxiety and stress have accessed virtual support networks.

ALSO READ: Clinicians worry pandemic is worsening youth mental health

Meanwhile, four per cent of respondents who have felt hopeless, depressed or panicked have utilized online support options.

Lead researcher and nursing professor Emily Jenkins said online resources are easily accessible – even being offered in various different languages.

“These programs are ideally positioned for the types of difficult experiences and emotions that we’re seeing during the pandemic,” said Jenkins.

Chris Richardson, a research associate at the School of Population and Public Health at UBC, said most of those accessing online options are doing so after being referred through their care provider.

Jenkins and Richardson are conducting further research to understand why use of these resources are so low, but they’ve already found that a lack of awareness is a major contributing factor.

“We see a lot of messaging out there about physical distancing, face masks and hand washing,” said Richardson.

“We really need to get more messages out to people about how they can support their mental health in a positive way as well.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

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

Just Posted

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

School sign at Pitt Meadows secondary, which is one of the schools in the district with a recent exposure to COVID-19. (The News files)
Five schools added to list of those with COVID-19 exposures

Surge in cases at Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows schools

Approximately $1.6 million was provided by the province to support the Foundry’s virtual services, including the development of the new Foundry app. (The News files)
New app to help youth access mental health and substance use supports

New Foundry BC app to complement services at Foundry Ridge Meadows

RCMP stock photo. (Black Press)
Throat injury call brings large Ridge Meadows RCMP response

Incident sees two men facing assault-related charges

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

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

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Most Read