The majority (69 per cent) of employed generation Z and millennial Canadians are struggling with anxiety, while 59 per cent are dealing with depression, according to a new survey by Ipsos for RBC Insurance.

The survey, which polled more than 1,500 employed Canadians aged 18 and over, found those aged 18 to 34 were significantly more likely to be struggling compared to those 55 and older (42 per cent with anxiety and 29 per cent with depression). These findings support actual claims trends among RBC Insurance’s individual clients, with 35 per cent of new individual long-term disability claims for younger Canadians (aged 18 to 39) related to mental health in 2021.

Read: Older Canadians coping better than younger demographics in pandemic: study

Additionally, Canadians said they now consider depression (54 per cent) and anxiety (44 per cent) to be disabilities. “Over the years, we have seen more and more Canadians recognizing that disabilities can be mental and not just physical in nature,” said Maria Winslow, senior director of life and health for RBC Insurance, in the release. “This is an important shift, particularly as people continue to deal with the ongoing stresses of the pandemic and they continue to report a decline in their mental health.”

Just over half (54 per cent) of all Canadians rated their mental health as excellent or good, which is a significant drop of 12 percentage points over that same period in 2019. And respondents who said they had poor mental health (32 per cent) were more likely to take time off due to disability than those who reported good mental health (12 per cent).

Read: Canadians struggling with financial, mental well-being: surveys

Among working Canadians, feelings of burnout were the main source of stress (42 per cent), while finances and income protection if they get sick or have the coronavirus was the second highest stressor (39 per cent), followed by increased work hours/workload (33 per cent).

Working Canadians who had a group benefits plan (60 per cent) and bought their own disability coverage (66 per cent) were more likely to rate their mental health as excellent or good. At the same time, fewer people reported having disability coverage either through their workplace benefits (down six points) or via an individual disability plan ( down nine points).

Read: Bell Let’s Talk Day: Employers supporting staff amid pandemic stresses