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South Asians report lower levels of mental health than other visible minorities during the pandemic

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Released: 2020-09-02

It is now well-established that the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the public health measures implemented in its wake to curb the spread of the virus (i.e., physical distancing), have taken a toll on the mental health of Canadians. Today, a new study highlights the pandemic's impacts on the mental health of participants in a recent crowdsourcing survey who belong to population groups designated as visible minorities.

Of the five largest population groups designated as visible minorities in Canada (i.e., South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino and Arab), as per the 2016 Census of Population, South Asian participants had poorer mental health outcomes. They were more likely than participants belonging to other visible minority groups to report fair or poor self-rated mental health, and somewhat or much worse mental health since physical distancing began. With the exception of Filipino participants, South Asian participants were also more likely to report symptoms consistent with moderate or severe generalized anxiety disorder in the two weeks prior to completing the survey.

Financial insecurity has been linked to lower mental health prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and higher levels of anxiety during the pandemic. South Asian participants were more likely than participants belonging to other visible minority groups to report that the pandemic has had a moderate or major impact on their ability to meet their financial obligations or essential needs, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, and groceries.

This study is the third in an analytical series that examines the mental health of diverse groups of Canadians during the pandemic. Previous articles focused on gender (male, female and gender diverse) and place of birth (foreign-born and Canadian-born individuals).


For more information, readers are invited to consult "The mental health of population groups designated as visible minorities in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic," part of the StatCan COVID-19: Data to Insights for a Better Canada series (Catalogue number45280001).

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