There is a consistent trend of negative mental health among Canadians at the six-month mark of the pandemic. The findings by consulting firm Morneau Shepell show that strained mental health of Canadians may be here for the long term, driven by concerns about the second wave of the pandemic, an impending lockdown and continued uncertainties regarding when things may settle, and what life may look like.
The Mental Health Index™ score is -10, highlighting an uneven pattern since the start of the pandemic. The survey reported modest increases from April to July, a decline in August and a return to July’s score (-10) in September. The score measures the improvement or decline in mental health from the pre-2020 benchmark of 75.
“The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is well underway, with case counts rapidly increasing and many provinces seriously assessing the need to revert back to previous lockdown measures,” said Stephen Liptrap, president and chief executive officer. “As we look to the coming months, it’s critical that governments and organizations recognize the risk that the impending isolation will have on Canadians’ wellbeing and take proactive action. If Canadians’ mental health and wellbeing needs are not addressed, the resilience of our country will face a significant long-term threat.”
Additional findings include:
- Thirty-eight per cent of employees indicated their top concern impacting their mental health is the financial impact of the pandemic, followed by fear of getting ill (34%) and fear of a loved one dying (30%) – echoing the concerns reported in April and May
- Thirty-six per cent of employees indicated that they are finding it more difficult to feel motivated to work and 34% of respondents said they find it more difficult now than before the pandemic to concentrate on work
- Twenty-nine per cent of employees indicated that the pandemic has made them less likely to access healthcare for physical needs, while 2% of respondents are less likely to access support for mental health needs than prior to COVID-19.
The pandemic is also impacting employee productivity. Almost four in 10 (36%) of employees indicated that they are finding it more difficult to feel motivated to work and 34% of respondents said they find it more difficult now than before the pandemic to concentrate on work.