Impacts on Mental Health

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Release date: October 20, 2020

Key messages:

The pandemic has impacted the mental health of Canadians, with youth experiencing the greatest declines

Since COVID-19, fewer Canadians report having excellent or very good mental health – 55% (July 2020) down from 68% (2019).

Prior to COVID-19, youth aged 15-24 were the least likely to report excellent or very good mental health.

Seniors aged 65 and older are the only group to date who have not experienced declines in mental health since the pandemic began.

Women continue to report lower levels of mental health compared with men – 52% vs 58%.

Proportion of Canadians reporting excellent or very good mental health pre and post COVID by age group, Canada, 2019, March and July 2020.Footnote *

Description - Proportion of Canadians reporting excellent or very good mental health pre and post COVID by age group, Canada, 2019, March and July 2020
Proportion of Canadians reporting excellent or very good mental health pre and post COVID by age group, Canada, 2019, March and July 2020
  CCHS 2019 CPSS1 CPSS4
15 to 24 59.3 41.0 39.9
25 to 34 63.3 46.2 45.8
35 to 44 65.8 45.9 50.4
45 to 54 68.3 49.5 58.0
55 to 64 70.2 60.6 61.5
65 and older 70.8 67.5 70.0
Source(s): Statistics Canada, Canadian Community Health Survey, 2019; Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 1; Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 4; *not seasonally adjusted

Those already experiencing poor mental health before COVID-19 were impacted even more by the pandemic

Prior to the pandemic, LGBTQ were at higher risk of mood disorder

Since the pandemic, among respondents to a crowdsourcing survey, gender diverse individuals were…

These differences can be explained in part by…

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a condition characterized by a pattern of frequent, persistent worry and excessive anxiety about several events or activities.

General anxiety level disorder levels among respondents to a crowdsource survey by gender identity, Canada, June 2020

Description - General anxiety level disorder levels among respondents to a crowdsource survey by gender identity, Canada, June 2020
Data table for chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 3 Male, Female and Gender diverse, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Male Female Gender diverse
percent
No symptoms 16.0 9.7 1.1
Mild symptoms 63.6 61.0 37.1
Moderate or severe symptoms 20.5 29.3 61.8
Source: Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians – Your Mental Health (April 24 to May 11, 2020).

Mental health outcomes differ across visible-minority groups who are more likely to report poor mental health and impacts on ability to meet financial obligations

Since the pandemic, among respondents to a crowdsourcing survey, members of visible minority groupsFootnote 1 were more likely than Whites to…

Visible minority groups were also more likely to report that the pandemic has had a "moderate" or "major" impact on their ability to meet their financial obligations compared with Whites (35.0% vs. 22.1%) – rates highest among…

Proportion of participants by mental health outcomes and specific population groups designated as visible minorities

Description - Proportion of participants by mental health outcomes and specific population groups designated as visible minorities
Data table for Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 2 Fair/poor self-rated mental health, Somewhat/much worse mental health since physical distancing began and Symptoms consistent with moderate/severe generalized anxiety disorder in the two weeks prior to completing the questionnaire, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Fair/poor self-rated mental health Somewhat/much worse mental health since physical distancing began Symptoms consistent with moderate/severe generalized anxiety disorder in the two weeks prior to completing the questionnaire
percent
White 22.9 52.2 24.2
South Asian 30.3 55.3 34.6
Chinese 25.7 48.1 22.0
Black 27.9 48.1 32.0
Filipino 26.9 45.5 37.2
Arab 21.0 48.6 30.0
Source: Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians – Your Mental Health (April 24 to May 11, 2020).

Declines in mental health observed by employment status

Evidence suggests a link between economic downturns and changes in mental health.

Since COVID-19, significant declines in mental health is observed among all employment groups compared to pre-COVID levels.

At the start of the pandemic (March), those not working due to COVID-19 reported the lowest levels of excellent or very good mental health (34%.)

Proportion of Canadians reporting excellent or very good mental health pre and post COVID by employment status, Canada, 2019, March and July 2020

Description - Proportion of Canadians reporting excellent or very good mental health pre and post COVID by employment status, Canada, 2019, March and July 2020
Proportion of Canadians reporting excellent or very good mental health pre and post COVID by employment status, Canada, 2019, March and July 2020
Employment status  2019 (CCHS) March 2020 (CPSS1) July 2020 (CPSS4)
Employed and at work 69.0 53.2 55.3
Employed but absent from work due to reasons other than COVID-19 63.4 52.4 56.3
Employed but absent from work due to COVID-19   34.1 61.6
Not employed 62.2 53.8 54.4
Sources: Statistics Canada, Canadian Community Health Survey, 2019 and Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 4.

Those reporting poor mental are up to 4 times more likely to report increased substance use since the pandemic began

Prior to COVID…

Since COVID-19, some Canadians continue to report increases in their alcohol (16.2%), cannabis (6.1%) and tobacco (4.8%) consumption.

Proportion of Canadians reporting increase in substance use by mental health, Canada, 2020

Description - Proportion of Canadians reporting increase in substance use by mental health, Canada, 2020
Canadian with fair or poor self-perceived mental health by change in cannabis, alcohol and tobacco use.
Good, very good or excellent Fair or poor
Tobacco No Change 94.7 85.9
Decreased 1.8 F
Increased 3.5 11.5
Alcohol No Change 75.1 61.7
Decreased 11.1 9.1
Increased 13.8 29.2
Cannabis No Change 94.3 80.0
Decreased 1.7 3.1
Increased 4.1 16.9
Source: Statistics Canada. CPSS Wave 4, July 20-26, 2020

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