(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

Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief Aileen Prince provides an overview of past and future projects in a Facebook video Friday, Jan. 22. (Nak’azdli Whut’en Facebook image)
Anxiety and grief, Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief looks beyond COVID-19

“One day it will be over,” says Aileen Prince

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Dr. Paul Stent is the first physician in Fort St. James to have received the vaccine, Jan. 22. (Northern Health photo)
Fort St. James receives shipment of COVID-19 vaccine

First vaccination clinics were held Jan. 22.

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

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

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

(Pixhere photo)
B.C. dentists argue for COVID-19 vaccine priority after ‘disappointing’ exclusion from plan

Vaccines are essential for dentists as patients cannot wear masks during treatment, argues BCDA

Most Read