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Health Reports: Understanding the self-perceived mental health of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic

Released: 2020-06-24

Just over half of Canadians aged 15 and older (54%) reported excellent or very good mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new study released today by Statistics Canada explores the self-perceived mental health of Canadians, and the relationships between mental health and concerns related to the pandemic.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Canadians' concerns about the impact of COVID-19
Canadians' concerns about the impact of COVID-19

For many Canadians, the challenges of physical distancing, the reduced ability to work or contribute to society, and pressures related to taking care of family in lockdown may lead to greater anxiety, loneliness and stress. The mental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic may be especially concerning for particular groups of the Canadian population that could already be at risk for worse mental health. This report provides a portrait of Canadians' perceived mental health based on socioeconomic and health characteristics, and specific concerns that may be related to mental health.

Results suggested that women, youth, individuals with a physical health condition and those who were very or extremely concerned about family stress from confinement were less likely to report excellent or very good mental health than good, fair or poor mental health.

The ability to meet financial obligations also had a significant impact on Canadians' mental health. Among Canadians who felt that COVID-19 had a minor or no impact on their ability to meet financial obligations, 76% reported excellent or very good mental health. In comparison, among those who reported a moderate or major impact on their ability to meet financial obligations, 25% reported excellent or very good mental health. Individuals with a compromised immune system and those with diabetes or a chronic condition affecting their lungs, heart, or kidneys were also less likely to report better mental health (compared with worse mental health).

The study's findings also suggest that many Canadians are concerned about the pandemic—approximately four in five individuals were extremely or very concerned about overloading the health system and about vulnerable people's health. Individuals with better mental health had different concerns about the impact of COVID-19 than individuals with worse mental health. For example, individuals who reported better mental health were less likely than those who reported worse mental health to be very or extremely concerned about a member of their household's health, civil disorder or family stress from confinement.

  Note to readers

This study is based on data from the Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 1 – Impacts of COVID-19. The survey was designed to collect information related to the impacts of COVID-19 on the labour market and on the behaviours and health of the Canadian population 15 years of age or older living in the 10 provinces. Of the 7,242 individuals who were invited to complete the survey, 4,627 people responded, yielding a 63.9% response rate, which represented 31 million Canadians.

Products

The article "Understanding the perceived mental health of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic" is now available in the June 24, 2020, online issue of Health Reports, Vol. 31, no. 4 (Catalogue number82-003-X).

This issue of Health Reports also contains the articles "Change in vegetable and fruit consumption in Canada between 2004 and 2015" and "Provincial variations in birth outcomes according to maternal country of birth, 2000 to 2016."

The infographic "Canadians' consumption of vegetables and fruits: What changed between 2004 and 2015?," part of Statistics Canada — Infographics (Catalogue number11-627-M), is also available.

Contact information

To enquire about "Understanding the perceived mental health of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic," contact Leanne Findlay (leanne.findlay@canada.ca), Health Analysis Division.

To enquire about "Change in vegetable and fruit consumption in Canada between 2004 and 2015," contact Didier Garriguet (didier.garriguet@canada.ca), Health Analysis Division.

To enquire about "Provincial variations in birth outcomes according to maternal country of birth, 2000 to 2016," contact Marcelo Urquia (Marcelo_Urquia@cpe.umanitoba.ca), Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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