Mental health issues caused by pandemic affect majority of Canadians: Poll

By: Thomas I. Likness
EBC News Service

(Eagle News) — More than three-quarters of Canadians report feeling negative emotions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a poll done for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

According to the survey, released Monday, the five most common emotional responses were worried, bored, stressed, lonely or sad.

“While it’s discouraging to think that so many Canadians are feeling upset, difficult emotions may actually be an appropriate response to a major event like a global pandemic,” says Margaret Eaton, the association’s national CEO said Monday in a release. “It’s a sign of good mental health when someone can experience a full range of emotions, and recognize, understand and manage how they feel—even when it’s uncomfortable.

Overall, 41% Canadians report a decline in their mental health since the onset of the pandemic.

Majority are coping

But the good news is 79% say they are coping at least fairly well with the stress of the pandemic. They reported using approaches such as walking or exercising outside, connecting with family and friends virtually, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, keeping up to date with relevant information and doing a hobby.

“Good mental health is not about being happy all the time but having appropriate emotional and behavioural responses to stressors and life events,” says lead researcher Emily Jenkins, a professor of nursing at UBC who studies mental health and substance use.

When should a person get help for feelings of despair?

“It’s time to seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed for prolonged periods of time or have persistent feelings of worry, anger or despair,” says Anne Gadermann, co-lead researcher.

Gadermann adds if people are having emotional problems that interrupt their daily functioning, interferes with relationships or work, or cause a person to rely on substances to cope, they should also get help.

The poll was done for the association by researchers at the University of British Columbia. It polled 3,037 people over the age of 18 who live in Canada in late January, 2021.
(Eagle News Service)

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