The Oakville Resiliency Report is timestamped in September 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Welcome to the fourth installment of our #WeekendReads series! Join us every Friday as we build on information shared in the report and share new information that is now available. Click here for previous installments.
Sources can be found here or by clicking the superscript within the text.
The mental health concerns of Canadians coast-to-coast remains at an all time high, as communities bounce between restrictions and reopenings of the economy, businesses and schools. Data suggests that the mental health of Canadians rises during reopenings and plummets during restrictions.¹
In the 17 years that life satisfaction of Canadians survey has been conducted, it hit its lowest level in 2020.² In particular, it declined most among younger Canadians and immigrants, with a lack of labour market participation a common denominator.
MENTAL HEALTH DETERIORATION
Self-reported anxiety and depression has been at an all-time high during the pandemic, with 1 in 4 Canadians self-reporting feelings of anxiety and 17% self-reporting feelings of depression.³ Younger Canadians between the ages of 18-34 have been the most vulnerable to declines in mental health, with social isolation now considered the leading stressor.
A year into the pandemic, suicide ideation has also increased. Nearly 1 in 10 Canadians say they’ve experienced recent thoughts or feeling of suicide, numbers that are even higher in relation to specific groups.⁴
- 28% of people identifying as LGBTQ+
- 27% with existing mental health conditions
- 24% with a disability
- 20% of Indigenous peoples
INFECTIONS, RESTRICTIONS AND DISRUPTIONS
Beyond social isolation, three other causes of mental health deterioration have been determined to be COVID-19 infection, community restrictions and daily-life disruptions. 1 in 8 COVID-19 survivors have reported a psychiatric episode within six months of their diagnosis.⁵ Patients who were hospitalized for the virus are more likely to suffer from a psychiatric episode.
Infections, restrictions and disruptions have also been found as the stressors resulting in a spike of eating disorders among adolescents and teens across the country. Admissions and outpatient referrals in hospitals throughout Canada have seen between a 30% and 50% increase. The National Eating Disorder Information Centre has also seen a 43% increase in calls to their helpline.⁶
- BounceBack Ontario
Mental health wellness skillbuilding
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Region branch
Free Call-In Counselling
- Distress Centre Halton
24/7 Distress Hotline
24/7 Mental Health, Addictions and Gambling Information
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Charitable organizations helping members of the community with mental health issues have received funds from the Oakville Resiliency Fund, GIVEOakville and the Emergency Community Fund. This funding has helped, but it has not satisfied all of the needs.
Organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Region Branch have continued to facilitate more than 100 call-in counselling sessions a month. STRIDE Employment Services anticipates the need for their mental health services will be greater than ever as the pandemic continues.