From The Conversation.com–The mental health consequences of COVID-19 can be described as the “fourth wave” of the pandemic, and are projected to result in the greatest and most enduring health footprint.
Canadian data show growing mental health concerns across the country. In April 2020, the Angus Reid Institute found that 50 per cent of Canadians felt their mental health had worsened during the pandemic, indicating high levels of worry and anxiety. The following month, Statistics Canada reported only 54 per cent of Canadians identified their mental health as “very good” or “excellent” in 2020, compared to 68 per cent two years earlier.
As mental health researchers working in collaboration with groups who have long experienced health and social inequities, we know that general population data do not tell the whole story. The toll of the pandemic is not distributed equally.
Root causes and differential mental health impact.
Growing mental health challenges amid the pandemic illustrate how profoundly population-level mental health is shaped by the social determinants of health — the everyday conditions in which we live. Increases in mental health challenges have been attributed to months of physical distancing, growing job loss, economic uncertainty, housing and food insecurity and child care or school closures. Many of us are attempting to balance far too much, and it is taking a toll.
Our research, done in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, adds new and concerning nuances to these trends.