Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of employed Canadians are reporting a decline in their mental health since the start of the pandemic, according to LifeWorks Inc.’s latest mental-health index.
Despite Canadians’ overall mental-health score seeing a slight uptick to negative 10.2 in October from September’s score of negative 10.3, the survey found the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is continuing to take a toll on employees’ mental wellness and is leading to deteriorating relationships in the workplace.
Indeed, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of Canadians polled said work hinders their mental health and 11 per cent reported that their experiences with their manager haven’t been positive since the pandemic began. The mental health and work productivity scores (negative 25 and negative 26.4, respectively) of those who said they don’t have positive experiences with their managers are about 15 points below the national average (negative 10.2). And 10 per cent of Canadians surveyed indicated that their experiences with their work peers haven’t been positive since the pandemic began and their mental-health score was significantly low at negative 26.2.
“Our research shows that the impact of the pandemic has not only negatively impacted mental health but also workplace relationships,” said Stephen Liptrap, LifeWorks’ chief executive officer, in a press release. “This is concerning, as both are major factors in overall well-being and work productivity. The coming months will be a critical period of time for employee well-being and as organizations look to finish the year strong, bottom lines are at stake if this is not prioritized.”
Additionally, one in five (20 per cent) employees said they feel in crisis or have concerns about their ability to cope. These groups had mental-health scores more than 20 points below the national average (negative 38.2 and negative 32.0, respectively).
A quarter (25 per cent) of respondents also said they have serious physical health issues or are concerned about their physical health and believe that an issue will become chronic. The mental-health scores of these groups were 14 points lower than the national average (negative 27.2 and negative 24.7, respectively). Of note, respondents who are managers were nearly 40 per cent more likely than non-managers to report serious physical health issues or that they’re concerned about their physical health and believe that an issue will become chronic.
Overall, almost all mental-health sub-scores rose slightly since September, including depression (negative 11.7 compared to negative 12.2), anxiety (negative 11.1 compared to negative 11.3), optimism (negative 11 compared to negative 11.3) and work productivity (negative 10.2 compared to negative 10.4).
However, isolation (negative 11.4 compared to negative 10.9) and psychological health (negative 3.5 compared to negative 3.3) both declined. The best sub-score — and the only measure above the historical benchmark — continued to be financial risk (5.2), which remained unchanged from September.