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Most Canadians feeling COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on their mental health

Employers asked to help workers boost their mental wellness

A new survey indicates that more than half of Canadians believe the COVID-19 pandemic is having an ongoing impact on their mental health.

The results of the survey, carried out by the KPMG financial auditing company, were released March 30 and show that most Canadians believe that residents are frustrated, angry and becoming more impatient with the social and financial challenges.

"More than a year of worrying about getting sick, stay-home restrictions, and job and economic challenges have taken a toll on Canadians' mental health," said Denis Trottier, the Chief Mental Health Officer at KPMG in Canada. 

"With vaccinations ramping up, Canadians should be seeing the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, but many are anxious that people are getting complacent and no longer exercising needed diligence to remain safe until the bulk of the population has been inoculated," he said.

Trottier said as it appears "the finish line" is getting closer, now is not the time to stumble.

"More than ever, we need to be vigilant to protect our physical and mental health. This is the time to lean in," said Trottier.

The survey had several key findings which included:

  • 89 per cent worry "Canadians are becoming impatient with the lockdowns and will let their guard down.”
  • 87 per cent agreed that "we must remain vigilant. We are almost at the finish line of this COVID-19 marathon. We can't afford to stumble now."
  • 54 per cent say their mental health has suffered during the pandemic.
  • 50 per cent say the pandemic has had an ongoing impact on their mental health.
  • 42 per cent believe the pandemic will have a lasting impact on their mental health.

The poll research also discovered that the pandemic has affected the mental well-being of women more than men, and it affected the 18-24 age demographic more than older Canadians.

The figures revealed that 57 per cent of women in the survey agreed their mental health has suffered, compared to 50 per cent of men.

The survey also revealed that 72 per cent of Canadians in the 18 to 24 age group believe their mental health has suffered.

Trottier commented that the burden of child and elder care has fallen disproportionately on women and social isolation during COVID-19 has affected younger Canadians.

He also recommended that Canadians who feel overwhelmed by all the downsides of the pandemic might want to create a mental health toolkit and look at ways to boost their own mental wellness. 

Trottier said employers can also get involved by helping employees find ways to boost their mental wellness.

Trottier also recommended that ordinary citizens can take action with such things as building a circle of care for any possible future mental health challenges; talk it up among friends and co-workers so that mental health becomes a regular topic of conversation; and embrace new habits of researching online mental health resources such as WellCan to help you prepare yourself. 

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