56% of Canadians say coronavirus negatively impacting mental health: survey

More than half (56 per cent) of Canadians said the coronavirus is having a negative impact on their mental health, with social isolation the top contributing factor, according to a new survey by Sun Life Canada.

The other factors include concern for loved ones (57 per cent), fear of contracting the virus (56 per cent) and financial concerns (51 per cent). The survey also found the virus is having a greater negative impact on the mental health of women (62 per cent) compared to men (49 per cent).

“The COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious public health emergency of our lifetime,” said Jacques Goulet, president of Sun Life Canada, in a press release. “Canada was already facing a mental-health crisis. The pandemic adds new layers of stress and we’re deeply concerned about the long-term mental-health implications that may follow. At Sun Life, we’re focused on supporting our employees, advisors, clients and all Canadians to manage their mental well-being.”

Read: Webinar: Coronavirus and workplace mental health

Close to 60 per cent of Canadians whose mental health has been negatively impacted said they aren’t receiving treatment or social support. When they were asked what barriers were stopping them from receiving support for their mental health, the responses were: they can’t afford it (22 per cent); they don’t know where to go or who to ask for help (17 per cent); and they’re embarrassed to ask for help (12 per cent).

“During the pandemic, people are feeling a mix of emotions including anxiety, stress, fear and nervousness,” said Dr. Sam Mikail, director of mental-health solutions at Sun Life, in the release. “It’s important to listen to your body, understand how you’re feeling and reach out for help. Connecting with a friend or family is a great first step. But don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. There are many resources either through your employee benefits or free in the community that can help you manage your mental health. We’re all in this together.”

Read: Social connection can build or erode mental-health, resilience