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Survey: Income and employment status affecting mental health of Canadians

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians have suffered from an increase in stress. According to a survey from the Conference Board of Canada and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), employment status,income level and the availability of coping mechanisms are having a significant impact on the mental health of Canadians.

The survey found that 84 per cent of respondents said that their mental health concerns have gotten worse since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the top concerns being their future, their family’s well being, anxiety and loneliness. 

“This type of insight is invaluable. We cannot address the mental health impacts of COVID-19 if we don’t understand their root causes,”  Louise Bradley, the president and chief executive officer of the MHCC said in a press release. “It’s not enough to assume that mental health has declined because of the pandemic — we need to pinpoint specifics so we can find tailored solutions.”

The survey also found that respondents who used coping mechanisms such as exercise and being socially active with friends and family had lower mental health concerns. 

However, those with higher mental health concerns were more willing to reach for what the survey considered high risk coping mechanisms such as food, alcohol and drugs. 

In order to better deal with mental health stress, Dr. Bill Howatt, the research chief of health at the Conference Board of Canada said that employers can play a role in giving its employees access to coping mechanism programs.

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