Nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of women say financial struggles due to inflation are impacting their mental health and finances are becoming more of a barrier to accessing mental-health support, according to a new survey by GreenShield and Mental Health Research Canada.

The survey, which polled more than 12,000 Canadians, found women were 30 per cent more likely than men to report going into debt as a result of the current economic conditions. Roughly two-fifths (42 per cent) of women who needed care but didn’t access it cited financial barriers as the reason, compared to 21 per cent of men.

Racialized Canadians were more likely to say they didn’t access care because they didn’t know where to get help (35 per cent), preferred to manage mental health on their own (31 per cent) or didn’t have confidence in the health-care system (20 per cent), compared to the general population.

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Overall, 13 per cent of women reported accessing mental-health or substance abuse services in the past year. Nearly a fifth (17 per cent) of women reported symptoms of depression and 16 per cent reported more severe symptoms of anxiety. These numbers increased for racialized women and women identifying as LGBTQ2S+.

In addition, racialized women were 60 per cent more likely than the general population to say they needed care but didn’t access any. They were also less satisfied with the care (61 per cent) and less likely to say the care they accessed met their needs (66 per cent), compared to racialized men (78 per cent and 74 per cent, respectively).

“From relying on savings or credit to pay for essential living costs to borrowing money from friends and family, these new findings paint the picture that women are disproportionately impacted by our current economic conditions,” said Harriet Ekperigin, vice-president of mental health at GreenShield, in a press release. “Layer in the unique experiences of women from racialized and marginalized communities; it’s no surprise that these everyday stressors continue to affect their mental health.” 

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