- By: Greg Staley
Written On: 2021-09-30
Depression and anxiety among Canadians is continuing to rise amid a never ending onslaught of intense government interventions aimed at combatting COVID-19 according to a Stats Canada report.
There has been a great deal of concern that the pandemic is having profound impacts on the mental health of Canadians. Specifically, in those who have experienced social isolation, job loss and other negative impacts. It should be noted that some of these impacts are the direct result of government policies aimed at metrics like lowering COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within the country. COVID lockdowns and restrictions as an example have had an immense impact on businesses and the livelihood of those businesses and the Canadians they employ.
The Stats Canada report says that “changes in behaviours, thoughts, and feelings can be a normal response to stressful situations, and experiencing symptoms consistent with one or more mental health conditions does not always indicate a disorder.”
How the rise in depression and anxiety breaks down
According to the report, “a greater proportion of Canadian adults screened positive for major depressive disorder in spring 2021 compared with fall 2020 (19% vs. 15%).” This increase carried over to generalized anxiety disorder among Canadians as well with 15% of adults screened in the spring of 2021 reporting the disorder versus 13% in the fall of 2020.
In general, younger Canadians have been more significantly impacted by the restrictions than their older counterparts. In the spring of 2021, 83% of Canadians aged 18 to 24 reported feeling lonely or having an increase in physical health problems. In comparison, 80% of those aged 25 to 44 reported one of those negative impacts, 70% of those aged 45 to 64 and 54% of Canadians aged 65 and older reported at least one negative impact.
Although this isn’t new information for many Canadians, it is a reminder of the shadow pandemic that is occurring. That shadow pandemic consists of lost jobs, poorer mental health and rising food insecurity. As Stats Canada reported, “the COVID-19 pandemic and the related business closures and lockdowns have given rise to a series of unprecedented socioeconomic and health-related challenges, one of which is increasing food insecurity.”
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