7% of respondents said they're "barely getting by at this point."
It's no surprise that the pandemic has had a negative impact on Canadians' mental health. The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) released the results of ongoing research on mental health in Canada throughout the pandemic, and the results are troubling.
The ARI asked Canadians to summarize how they had been feeling over the past few weeks. Of the 1,509 Canadians polled online from January 18 to 20, nearly half (48%) said that they felt "fatigued." That's more than three times the number of people who reported feeling "optimistic" (13%) or "happy" (12%). 40% of Canadians expressed feeling "frustrated," 37% felt "anxious" and 23% felt "depressed."
Although the major physical effects of the virus itself have been felt the most by older generations, Canadian young adults seem to be the ones feeling a mental toll, according to the Institute.
49% of respondents aged 18-35 reported feeling "not good" or "terrible" in the last two weeks. This rate is twice that of adults aged 55 and over (25%). Only 1 in 20 young adults (5%) reported feeling "untroubled."
The pandemic has also exacerbated pre-existing issues in young people. Three-quarters of young adults (76% of people aged 18 to 34) reported that anxiety and depression had worsened in their social circles during the pandemic. Just over 6 in 10 young adults believed that loved ones' alcohol abuse had gotten worse since March 2020.
The ARI attributes recent dips in mental wellbeing to the spread of the Omicron variant across the country.
"Prior to the Omicron wave, one-quarter (25%) said their mental health was not good," the Institute said in its findings. "Now, one-third (35%) say they are struggling with their state of heart and mind, including seven per cent who say they are feeling terrible, nearly double the amount measured at any point since October 2020."
The Quebec government announced on January 25 that over $1 billion would be invested over the next five years into bettering the mental health of the province. "This is the first mental health action plan with investments of this magnitude, which will contribute, among other things, to improving access to services, offering recovery-oriented care and promoting the implementation of best practices," the Quebec government said in their release.
Nearly $470 million will specifically go toward improving young Quebecers' mental health, "including $200 million for the promotion of mental health and addiction prevention in schools." More than $300 million is going into "improving access to services."
If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or mental health concerns, please reach out to a trusted peer, parent or health care professional. You can also contact a helpline which is available 24 hours a day to talk. Or click here, for additional resources.
If you need immediate assistance please call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital. Support is available.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.